Genre Spotlight : Biography

My son is now seven years old and if you were to ask him what types of books he likes, he’d be quick to say that he likes “true stories” aka. biographies.  Yes, there are lots of children’s picture books in the biography genre and we’ve learned about all kinds of interesting people in history through this medium.  It’s great to expose kids to many different literature genres at a young age – you never know what they will be interested in!

I loved focusing on one genre a month when I was a classroom teacher so I thought I could bring some of my genre-teaching enthusiasm to the the Library Commons blog for a couple weeks.  This week, I want to share some library’s resources for teaching about biographies.

One way to incorporate biographies into home learning is to find the biography of a person who has been prominent in studying the same topic your child might be studying in science or art.  What a great cross-curriculuar opportunity!

For example, is your child interested in inventing things or are you teaching about sound & light? We have a new Thomas Edison Biography Book Kit in the TLA library right now including a book with 21 Edison invention-related activities (request the kit for a month loan by emailing your Home teacher). Kit includes 1 picture book, 2 DVDs, 2 easy-reader books, 1 novel, and 1 activity books with 21 projects.

    Thomas Edison Interactive DVDEdison : The Wizard of Light    

At an additional cost of $1.60, you could purchase and print a copy of this Thomas Edison foldable activity for grades 1 – 3.

We have lots of biographies on the shelf at a variety of different reading levels.  Here are just a few:

         

Wondering if we have the biography that you’re looking for?  Search our library system here.

Historica Canada has created a huge series of biography videos that are about 45 minutes long and can be found on their website : https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/biography-series .  We also carry a series of books called The Canadians which feature the following Canadians: Gabriel Dumont, Tom Longboat, Wilfried Laurier, John A. MacDonald, Lester B. Pearson, Laura Secord, Emily Carr, Crowfoot, and Alexander Graham Bell.

     

Now you’ve chosen to focus on biographies, what now?  Here are a few ideas that I found online that you could use with any biography:

Create a lapbook with this unit for $2.40 from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Research a person in history and write your own biography for them!  Scholastic’s Writer’s Workshop on Biography

Keep track of all the biographies you read by filling in a Biography Report free from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Read a biography and create a graphic novel of this person’s life using some of these free comic templates from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Compare and contrast TWO biographies of the same person using these graphic organizers for $4.00 at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Add some visual arts to your project and create a biography bottle!

Image result for biography bottle

EPIC! Online Access to 10,000 books

I discovered the EPIC! app this spring and if you have not yet tried it out, you must!   This is a library at your fingertips full of familiar books like Berenstein Bears or Fancy Nancy, PLUS, books about every possible topic that you can imagine.   Imagine that you are teaching your child about weather and you have a site that you can search “weather” and awesome books like these pop up:

weather weather4 weather3 weather2

Books for ALL ages!  And these are only four of over a hundred that you can add to your child’s learning!

These books open on your screen and you or your child can flip through the pages.  Some have the green “Read To Me” label at the bottom of the book which means that your child can listen to the book on their own.  Otherwise, you would need to read them aloud to your child from the screen.

A book like this Science Explorer: Weather one for ages 11 – 13 looks like this inside:

weather 5

I downloaded the app for my iPad and iPhone but it can also be used on any computer.  I am still looking into pricing but currently it comes with a 30 Day Free Trial then costs $4.99/mo.  In my opinion, worth every penny!

What a wealth of knowledge to add to your program!