in the Spotlight
Project URL: http://teachnet-lab.org/berkowitz/author_study.htm
Author in the Spotlight is designed to promote literacy involvement for middle school/high
school students by addressing most of the New York State English Language
Arts Standards. It is a thorough examination of the works of a specific
author or poet. After reading several novels or poems by one author,
a good reader is able to compare and contrast characters, settings,
plots, themes, and genres; examine the author's writing style and
purpose in each novel; and discover things about the author's life
that may shed light on his/her work. The project is done after reading
a minimum of four books by one author. Each group is composed of two
students who have read the books of the same author. The project is
displayed on a tri-board, which is graded for neatness, content, penmanship,
and eye-catching display. Students write expository and persuasive
essays, compose responses to letters, and create tests for each novel
read. They do Internet research and attempt to find parts of the author’s
life that are woven into his/her novels. The project culminates in
an oral presentation.
The project addresses
most of the New York State English Language Arts Standards. Students
read at least four books by the same author; read and comprehend informational
materials and documents; and produce a report of information, a response
to literature, and a persuasive essay. Additionally, they participate
in one-on-one conferences and group meetings, prepare and deliver
individual presentations, and make an informed judgment about the
novels. Students demonstrate an understanding of the rules of the
English language in written and oral work; analyze and revise work
for clarity and effectiveness; and respond to non-fiction, fiction,
and poetry using interpretive and critical processes.
Students are encouraged
to word-process their project materials. They do Internet research,
and additional project enhancements using images and pictures are
This project was
designed for a basic-skills/average seventh-grade English Language
Arts class. These students needed an incentive to read, as well as a
vehicle to display their abilities in a positive and productive
manner. You can adjust this project for both younger grades
and high school classes.
The best feature of Author in the Spotlight is the completed project tri-board.
When finished, they are quite colorful and display the literary work
of each group. The children are thrilled to see their work displayed
and have a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. These boards are
a tribute to the class and can be used year after year for decorative
purposes in the classroom as well as models for students who are working
through the project.
The lessons that are
provided are user-friendly.
The students will find the worksheets to be a helpful tool for project
About the teacher:
Elissa Berkowitz is
a part-time literacy coach and teaches reading at I.S.62 Ditmas in
Brooklyn. She teaches on the high school and college levels as well.
She enjoys reading and writing projects that promote literacy, and
wishes there were more hours in the day to allow for additional creative