Introducing Patricia Polacco: Reading an Autobiography

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SWBAT read an autobiography and pull out important information and then use that information to make predictions about what they would expect to read about in an author's body of work.

Big Idea

Understanding an author's background will help a student to understand the point of view in their works.


10 minutes

When the students enter today, they find the books from yesterday displayed in the room along with other ones they may or may not have seen before.  They also find the Smart board pulled up with Patricia Polacco's picture.

I explain to them that all the books they read yesterday come from the same author and the books we'll be looking at over the next couple weeks will all come from her as well.  I then go through the Smart board lesson introducing Patricia Polacco to my class.  Many of them have heard of her book and some have even read some of her books, but none indicated that they knew anything about her the person.  

They would soon find out!!  I explained to them that during an author study it is important to know some information about the author because who they are as a person colors the stories they tell and the books they write.  The more we know about an author, the more we can understand their point of view when we read their work.  


40 minutes

I printed out the Patricia Polacco biography from her website and hand it out when we get to the biography slide.  I attached a link for the autobiography to the Smart board lesson in case a person doesn't want to print it out.  Because I want my students to practice independent reading, I printed out the autobiography and attached the chart where students can record information.  

I give students a chance to read the autobiography independently and record their own thoughts.  After they're done reading, we record some thoughts together on the Smartboard slide that follows the biography.  Since Polacco's stories are about her family and friends, I want to get the students' juices flowing about things they may read about or characters they meet.  


15 minutes

After we read and record our thoughts on Patricia Polacco's life, I hand out post it notes and ask the students to make predictions about what they think we might read about in some of her books.  The students don't have a lot of experience with her books, but they should be able to infer from the books they read for the left side notebook activity and from what they've read from her biography that she will write about her family and her experiences in life.

Once the exit tickets are completed, I collect the post it notes and display them to use later.  As we read more Patricia Polacco books, I want to sort their predictions into the themes of her books.  This will help me see how well students are using information to make their predictions and will give us something to talk about as we discuss themes at a later date.