Writing Biographies - exploring a reader’s history

Posted by Amanda Miller on

This month we have focused on teaching reading in classrooms through the genre of Biography. For the last post in this series, perhaps we could set up students to think about biographies in another capacity – by writing their own. There are many ways to get students to write about their lives. Here, we are going to zoom in on one aspect of their lives – their own reading lives.
When we look at milestones in the past, there is something to learn from. When we use biographies in our classrooms, we teach readers to look for important events, people who have influenced them, and where/when their important work happened. Readers walk away with reflections on that important person’s successes and struggles. There is also an opportunity to learn, grow, and change from those reflections.
We could borrow some of those elements we pay attention to when reading biographies and invite students to use those elements to create their own “Reading Biographies.” Writing down their important reading milestones can help them to look back and learn about themselves.

Here are a few ideas to help students create their own “Reading Biographies" 

  • A timeline of memorable reading events
  • A list of influential books
  • Sketches of favorite reading spots
  • List of people who have impacted their reading life
    The information students learn when reading biographies about famous people might impact decisions they make in their own lives. For example, after reading about J.K. Rowling (kaeden.com/collections/biography/products/j-k-rowling) and her struggle to get published, they might learn about perseverance and make choices to persist in their own lives. 
    When readers create and read their own “Reading Biographies,” it might help them make future choices in their reading, such as what books they choose, where they get their best reading done, and the conditions that make reading enjoyable. Just like reflections from reading a biography on a famous person, reflections from “Reading Biographies” can help the reader learn, grow, and change. 

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