Author Studies
Why are author studies important?

1. Help students develop their reading skills

Author studies necessarily require lots of reading, giving kids plenty of opportunities to improve their reading fluency. In addition, teachers can use author studies to individualize reading instruction by grouping students according to their reading levels and helping them choose an appropriate author to study.

2. Build critical thinking skills

With author studies, students learn to compare and contrast themes, analyze text and illustrations, and make connections between an author's life and his/her work and between the author's work and the reader's own life and work.

3. Improve writing skills

An author becomes a "writing mentor" for readers as they read and study his/her work and respond to it through a variety of writing. This "mentoring" and students' writing responses can help kids build confidence in their writing and can even inspire them to become authors themselves.

4. Forge a deeper attachment to books

Kids often bond with "their" author, which makes reading a more personal, fulfilling experience. Kids may even want to read books that influenced their author, further expanding their reading experience.

5. Establish a community of readers

Author studies help classes, and even whole schools, form closer connections through shared reading experiences.

6. Expose kids to different types of literary voices and styles

Like adults, many kids prefer a particular kind of book, such as non-fiction, series fiction, fantasy, etc. An author study can be used to persuade kids to branch out. In addition, some authors, including Newbery Medalists Avi and Lois Lowry, write in a variety of literary genres, which makes it easy for kids who do author studies on them to try out different types of reading.

7. Boost information literacy skills

A key component of author studies is researching an author's life and work, using print and online resources. This research provides a built-in opportunity for teachers to teach information literacy skills, especially how to find information sources and determine if they are credible.

8. Plug in easily to the curriculum

Teachers can do a short or long author studies, depending on available time.

9. Make connections across the curriculum

Choosing a non-fiction author is the easiest way for teachers to connect science, math and/or history units with their language arts teaching. But these connections also can be made using elements of a fiction author's books (i.e., setting in a particular time or place, animal or historic characters).

10. Add fun to the school day!

Author studies are an entertaining way to spark students' life-long interest in reading, a particularly important factor for new readers and reluctant readers.

Tomie dePaola Video Clips and audio books


Clip 1 Meet Tomie dePaola - Open Road Media

Clip 2 Born to be an artist

Clip 3 Family Stories

Clip 4 Myths, Falk tales and Disney

Clip 5 Strega Nona

Clip 6 It starts with an idea

Clip 7 Interesting lies

Clip 8 History Lesson

Clips 9 Simplify

Clip 10 Tomie reads an excerpt

Chip 11 On stage

Clip 12 Magical books

Clip 13 Classics

Clip 14  What makes a good picture book

video book Strega Nona read by dePaola

Video Book Big Anthony and the Magic Ring Read Aloud

Video Book The Art Lesson

Video Book Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato

Video Book  Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka

Video Book Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

Video Book The Legend Of The Bluebonnet

Video Book Telling Funny Stories with Strega Nona

Video Book  Telling Scary Stories with Tomie dePaola

Video Book  Telling stories with Tomie dePaola using pictures