I love how amazingly approachable and kind authors are, especially those who write for children, middle schoolers, and teens. I am lucky enough to attend NCTE and ALAN each year, where I track down authors and ask them to share with teachers and students everywhere why vocabulary is important to them. I use the recordings from the interviews and create videos to inspire students. Below are five ways you can use my interviews with authors this year to enhance vocabulary instruction!
5 Ways To Use Author Interviews To Enhance Vocabulary Instruction
5. Making Monday Great with an Author Interview
The first idea is the one that I use every week. I begin class on Monday with an author interview and ask students to record a key idea from the video on their chart. Students have to use a vocabulary word in their analysis, and this chart lets them keep track of their ideas and compare them from one video to the next.
This activity sets a great tone for the week by beginning with an author (“Yay reading!”), talking about words (“Hurrah vocabulary!”), and usually writing in some way (“Huzzah for writing!”).
Very often, on the day before the vocabulary test, students ask, “Why do we have to learn all these words?” Playing them an author interview at that moment allows John Green or Veronica Roth to deliver a decisive answer. You need to do anything else!
In addition, when students pull out their author interview chart, they can review all the other previous reasons they recorded — and this can provide further motivation for truly learning new words.
3. Writer’s Workshop Motivation
I often want to set a strong tone on Writer’s Workshop days, but I may not know how to begin or how to keep students on track if they are losing focus. Showing an interview with an author gives students a new impetus to write, and write well, without too much pushing from you.
Again, as students pull out their author interview charts, they can focus on writing ideas from each author, as well as looking back over previous week’s advice as they pick up their pens (or keyboards) again.
2. Compare/Contrast Exercise
I love to have students compare and contrast ideas; this skill requires deeper thinking and processing and often generates new ideas that I had not considered.
You can teach this skill by asking students to watch two author videos (either at home or in class). Ask students to compare and contrast the authors’ ideas on their chart, and then share their results with a partner. Have partners form groups of four, and more new ideas will be shared along with concepts about reading, writing, and vocabulary.
1. Booktalk with an Author Interview
As I have discussed before, connecting students to authors can help students become better readers. I love to show an author interview after giving a quick preview of one of the author’s books. Students get to see an actual author connected with the book and the video can inspire students to read it! Their author chart can also serve as a “What to Read Next” chart so students can never complain that they do not know what to read when they finish their current book.
In conclusion, I love using interviews with authors to inspire students to be better writers, readers, and word learners and I find that the author interview chart helps students retain key ideas so they can continue to reflect, learn, and grow all year long! Download and print the worksheet now.