Once children are actively reading, the next critical step is getting them to understand the author’s role in a book.
After we read a book, it is always interesting to hear my students answer the question, “Why do you think this author wrote this book?”
The kids’ answers are always so completely honest that this is a question I enjoy asking children. At first, the answers are simple – to tell a story or share facts. But if you let children keep thinking, you will start to get answers like:
- to remember something special to them,
- to make us aware of a problem in the world, or
- to help us appreciate what we have.
The next question I ask students is, “When you think about the author’s voice in this book, why do you think she chose the words she did? Can you tell how he was feeling about this story?” Students will learn to think a little deeper about why the author wrote the book.
The last question I ask students is, “Is there a message that this author wants us to understand?” This last question will really require some thought, so be prepared to wait through the silence for them to think of an answer. It is usually worth the wait.
If I haven’t yet convinced you to teach your kids to understand the author’s role, this is one more brilliant reason: when students begin to evaluate the author’s role and voice, they will start to be more mindful when they are writing their own stories. Students will incorporate their own messages or memories to share, and they will improve the quality of their own writing.
I would love to hear from you about what your children are saying about an author’s message. Please leave a comment and share some of your kids’ brilliant insight.
Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website http://www.thrivehomeschooling.com.