Jan Brett Author Study – An Extended Reading Experience

Cross Posted from innovatingplay.world Written By Christine Pinto and Jessica Twomey

We used books by Jan Brett to build connections to literature and her craft as an author and illustrator. In this Extended Reading experience, children were given the opportunities to make connections to the author and define their own craft. Jan Brett’s work is inspired by places in her home, so children drew and labeled special places in their homes. Jan also illustrates the pictures in her books, so students took on creating their own characters with two mediums: drawing and sculpting with Play Doh/clay. Children were also given the opportunity to compose their opinions by leaving a book review rating on Flipgrid. Our goal was to help the kids transfer the experience of literacy beyond the words in a book by looking closely at how Jan Brett creates so they could see how THEY can create.

Children rotated through these small group centers throughout the week and utilized these slides:


This author study does not have to stop at school, it can be continued at home so that they can discover together in new ways. Jessica created an Adobe Express Web Page to share what was happening in class with the Jan Brett author study, and how it can be furthered at home with families. Check it out here!

A Bigger Picture Piece of Extended Reading

When we transfer the experience of literacy beyond the words in a book, we show children that stories and ideas matter because they are reflections of our world and our imaginations. If we just teach skills and strategies that’s all children may see. We want them to experience why books – or any kind of communication of ideas whether it is video, audio, visual – are important. It is because they are reflections of what we know and what we imagine to be possible.

If we limit it to books, we limit their understanding of the world in which they live. Print is a small part of how ideas are communicated now. They need to be able to express and receive ideas in multiple ways. THAT is what we give children in Extended Reading.

Interested in More Extended Reading Experiences?

If you enjoyed learning about extended reading, Chapter 4 of Innovating Play includes more literacy experiences. We share a week’s view of balanced literacy through extended reading, tips for integrating technology with extended reading, and rich examples from our classrooms along with supplemental resources used. The Innovating Play book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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