The Laura Numeroff author study is a hidden gem for kindergarten! These books are familiar to many students, but are often forgotten about. I have really enjoyed doing this author study with my students over the past two years! These “circle stories” can teach story elements, cause and effect, and sequencing. The students love to hear how the end “circles back” to the beginning.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Take a Mouse to School – These books are the most familiar to students. For this story, I focus on the story elements – characters, setting, problem, and solution. There are multiple problems throughout the story, so students can pick one. They have to clearly show what the mouse asked for, and what he used it with. For example, the mouse asked for some crayons, and he then created a picture. You could also use a cause and effect graphic organizer for this book as well.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin – This is another great book for story elements and cause and effect. I also use this author study to help assess reading comprehension and retelling. I have found multiple resources on TeachersPayTeachers that go along with this story.
If You Give a Dog a Donut – For this book, I focus on sequencing and retelling the events of this story. The students learn to apply what they have learned about sequencing and cause and effect. It also makes for a great classroom work display.
If You Give a Pig a Pancake and If You Give a Pig a Party – Both of these stories involve the same character, but in a different setting. For these books, I have the students compare and contrast the two books. We learn to use venn diagrams when comparing books. I also have many of these books on CD, which are perfect for my listening center.
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake – This is one of Laura Numeroff’s newer books. Throughout the unit, I also do many writing responses that coincide with the books. For this story, I ask the students “what would you want with your cupcake.” This helps them to start writing about cause and effect. They are engaged in the activity, and their answers are usually creative!
At the end of every author study, I have the students write about their favorite books and why they liked them. This is a great way to wrap up a unit.
Writing Our Own Circle Stories – At the end of the unit, I create our own class book of “circle stories”. We have learned to look for patterns within an author study. The students use what they know about those patterns to create their own story. First, they have to choose their character. Since Laura Numeroff uses animals, they must pick an animal. Then, they must choose their food. I encourage them to create an alliteration, because that is common in Laura Numeroff’s books. Finally, they choose what their animal wants with it. This is where they apply what they have learned about cause and effect. Their story should be related and the items they want should be connected in some way. We put each story together into a class book that the students LOVE to read!