For the last two weeks we have been working very hard at writing books about what we know about. We culminated the process by having a “We Are Authors Day” where each child’s parents were invited to come and listen to their child read their book. My students were so very proud of their hard work and could not wait to read to their parents!
To begin the process, I conferenced with each student and asked them what they knew a lot about. We talked about the topics they could potentially write about and what they knew about their idea. Then we got started on the project. Before we began, I bound books together with my binding machine. I used ten pieces of white construction paper and bound them on the short end of the paper.
Each day, my students would write and illustrate one page of their book. I met with small groups of children every day throughout the process. Each day, in small groups, my students would come to my table. They would orally tell me (and their small group) what they wanted their sentence to be for that day and we would clap out how many words were in their sentence. Then we drew lines using a ruler for each word. After the lines were drawn, we repeated the sentence touching each line as we said the word. (We did this a few times.) Then my students listened for all of the letters they heard in each word and wrote them on the lines.
After the words were written, my students would illustrate their page and add details to their picture.
What I really loved, and didn’t initially anticipate, was the collaboration that took place during the whole process. Occasionally, when it was time to come up with an idea for a new page, a student would say, “I’m not sure what to write today.” Their friends would then offer a few suggestions about their topic. They would talk about what they all knew and then the author would decide what they wanted to write on their new page. It was so very sweet to see my students working together and helping each other out.
The day before our “We Are Authors” day, I had my students look through online pictures to find the perfect picture for their front cover. Then, they came up with the title of their book and helped me type it. After each cover page was finished, we printed them out, glued them to the front cover (which we had left blank) and then practiced reading our books “loud and proud.”
On the day of the event, my students came dressed in their “Sunday best.” They were SO excited to read their books to their parents.
I set up our conference room with chairs for my parents and students and hooked up our document camera so that the children’s illustrations would be the focal point while the children were reading.
Here is a quick video of one of my students reading part of his book on the dodo bird.
After each child finished reading their book, we celebrated our hard work with fruit, mini cinnamon rolls, and orange and apple juice!
After the event my students told me, “We really ARE authors!!” “That was SO FUN!!” “WE did such a GREAT job!!” To say they were proud of themselves, is an understatement. However, I think that me and their parents might be even prouder!! It was truly a special event that left my students feeling so good about themselves. I hope that you will try it with your students!!