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Author Study: Beverly Cleary

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Brianna Beck

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of Author Study: Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary Brianna Beck When deciding who I wanted to do my second author study on, I tried to consider authors that I loved. I took some time to consider books that I felt were timeless and would always be able to relate to young students. Then, I went through my classroom library at my placement and realized that a lot of the books my teacher was reading out loud to her students were written by Beverly Cleary. As a child, I loved her books. I remember them being funny and keeping me fully engaged. I also saw this to be true in my placement. The students loved having read alouds from her books because they were so easy to relate to. From observing this, and remembering my own experience, I chose to do Beverly Cleary as my second author study in hopes of learning ways of including her books in my future classroom. Rationale: Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon. Until she was old enough to attend school, she lived on a farm in a town that did not have a library.Because of this, her mother acted as the town librarian and arranged for books to be sent to them. This began Beverly Cleary's love for books. During her school years, she was encouraged by her school librarian to write children's books when she grew up. Cleary decided this was a good idea and she would write the stories that she wished to read. She wanted to write about the children she grew up with and the events that took place on their street. From these memories, Beverly Cleary's cherished characters were created. Biography: Over the years, Cleary's books have earned her many incredible awards. What could be argued to be Cleary's most well known series, the Ramona series, her Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were named 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books. For Dear Mr. Henshaw, she received the 2003 National Medal of Art and the 1984 John Newbery Medal. Cleary also was awarded the 1984 United States author nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. In addition to these awards, Cleary also received the American Library Association's 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the University of Southern Mississippi's 1982 Silver Medallion, and the Catholic Library Association's 1980 Regina Medal. Awards: When researching into critical responses of Beverly Cleary's writings, one of the most interesting articles I found was "The Hidden Curriculum and the Child's New Discourse: Beverly Cleary's Ramona Goes to School". This article goes into detail about how Ramona changes as she goes through school. It's main focus is on how children are taught to abide by a "hidden curriculum". "This hidden curriculum teaches the "basic rules" that dictate "the choices one has within the rules of the game" children come to know as school (p. 86)." Before this article, I had never given this much thought. Now, considering this information, I can see how Ramona grows as an individual and strives for the approval of her teachers. So much so, that she struggles with conforming to being the type of student she thinks her teachers want her to be. In Cleary's books, it seems as if Ramona learns through this hidden curriculum, what is expected of her and what are acceptable behaviors. She is taught, like many other students, the rules of the class and what the social norms of a class are. Critical Response: Critical Response: Websites: The first website I would recommend would be http://www.beverlycleary.com/. This is the official website for Beverly Cleary's work and it has a lot of beneficial areas to visit. It is divided into areas of About Beverly Cleary, Books, Meet the Characters, Fun and Games and Educators and Librarians. It is very kid friendly and has a lot of information about Cleary's books. The games are interactive and fun and they correlate perfectly with each book. The page for Educators and Librarians focuses mainly on the importance of the D.E.A.R. program, but it also provides teacher guides for Cleary's books. Websites: Another beneficial website I have found is http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/cleary/. Reading Rocket's is a great website when researching children's literature. On this website, it offers an interview with Cleary herself where she elaborates on each of her characters and her books. This would be a good website to use when introducing Beverly Cleary to your class before you read one of her books aloud. Websites: A final website that is very beneficial is http://childrensbooks.about.com/cs/authorsillustrato/a/beverlycleary.htm. This website offers information about the background of Cleary and some of her works as an author. But it also gives a list of some of her most well known books. As well as, it offers other websites that may be beneficial when researching Beverly Cleary. One website in particular has lesson plans for Ramona, age 8. Classroom Applications: Classroom Applications: A lot of Cleary's books have main characters that are animals. Some interesting class activities can build off these animals. In Science, for instance, you could research into the real lives of these animals. For Cleary's book, Ralph S. Mouse, have students research into the lives of real mice and what they are actually like. Find information on the different species, or their habitats. This way they will have factual knowledge to compare to the characters in Cleary's books. Bibliography: Another critical response to the work of Cleary was an article titled, Dear Mr. Henshaw. This article gave a review of Cleary's book and how it can relate to students still today. It allows the reader to see how this book can reach out to young boys that may be struggling. It allows them a story to relate to and that can allow them to really get engaged by a book. " Cleary's novel demonstrates how a boy highly resistant to writing might ultimately discover the joy of putting pencil to page when encouraged to write in a way that is meaningful, personal, and authentic. (Journal of Education)" I personally would have this book in my classroom library. If there is a book out there that a student can relate to and it can help them, then I want to have it available. This book is in my mentor's teachers classroom right now, and we have students reading it all the time. It really is a book that they can connect to and see themselves in. Beezus and Ramona
Dear Mr. Henshaw
Henry Huggins
Ramona and her Father
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Ramona the Pest
The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Work Cited: Benson, L. (1999, March). Ramona Goes to School. Children's Literature in Education, 30(1), 9-29. Retrieved November 13, 2012, from Galileo.

Collins, H. (2010). About Beverly Cleary. In The World of Beverly Cleary. Retrieved November 13, 2012, from http://www.beverlycleary.com/about.aspx

Larson, L. (2011, March 1). Journal of Education, 191(2), 76-77. Retrieved November 13, 2012, from Galileo.

One class activity you could do with Cleary's books could build off of the book The Mouse and the Motorcycle. In this book, the family takes a trip from Ohio to California. You can use this trip to introduce an activity on understanding the map of The United States of America and where the family traveled. Have the students create paths that the family could have chosen to get from Ohio to California and have them present their map to the class, explaining why they chose this path.
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