Author studies for young readers and writers
In the chilly, wintry months, Jan Brett stories keep first graders warm in Ms. Eknoian's class. Jan Brett's engaging words and beautiful illustrations always have first graders at the edge of their seats, so we decided to do an author study on this wonderful author/illustrator to learn more about her and her work.
An author study includes focusing on a variety of texts written by the chosen author. Students are learning and practicing reading and writing strategies through Jan Brett's stories. For Reader's Workshop, we use Jan Brett's stories to practice strategies such as retelling, comparing/contrasting, visualizing, making connections and analyzing characters, problems and solutions. In Writer's Workshop we use her stories to focus on styles of writing, and traits including word choice, organization and ideas. We also tie Jan Brett into our opinion writing unit when we write about our favorite Jan Brett book at the end of our author study!
An author study allows students to focus on the writing style of one author. After just a couple of books, the students start to notice special one-of-a-kind characteristics of Jan Brett's stories (such as beautiful detailed page borders) and get to know more about her as an author and illustrator.
About the author/illustrator
Jan Brett has been an author and illustrator of children's books for over 20 years. She has written and illustrated over 25 children's books, and has also retold and illustrated many stories as well. One of the most exciting things students find out about Jan Brett is that she lives in the same state we do, Massachusetts! Jan's husband, Joe, is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Jan Brett loves to travel. She finds a lot of her inspiration for her books in places that she has traveled, including Norway, Japan, Canada, and Africa! Jan Brett also loves animals, and uses animals as the focus of many of her stories. Some of Jan Brett's popular books include: The Mitten, The Hat, The Umbrella, Gingerbread Friends, Annie and the Wild Animals, Mossy, and Hedgie's Surprise. Look for a complete list of Jan Brett's books below!
HELPFUL ILLUSTRATING TIPS
"Jan Brett at Home"
Jan Brett and ANIMALS
Jan Brett helps us with our reading strategies
We used Gingerbread Baby to practice identifying problem and solution in a text.
Retelling a Story
To practice the skill of retelling a story, the students read The Mitten multiple times, cut out images of the characters and retold the story using the pictures to guide them through the story.
We compared this Jan Brett favorite to Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We discussed what the stories had in common and how they were different.