After publishing my first book, I was determined to make my book accessible to classroom teachers. I know that teachers are the busiest people because of my experience as a classroom teacher. I wanted teachers to use my picture book in their classrooms. Teachers need a resource that they can easily implement. It was important to me to extending the learning from my book into other curriculum areas by creating a cross-curricular guide. Several samples of readers’ guides were available online. Reading a few articles about creating a readers’ guide was essential before I started writing.
Research the Curriculum
One of the first things you need to do is pinpoint your book’s connection to classroom curriculum. How does your book connect with what is being taught? My book is about Groundhog Day, which is one of the holidays celebrated in the US and Canada. It is part of the curriculum for the early elementary grades. This was my connection.
Develop Your Activities
A readers’ guide should have activities related to the actual story and several relating to the curriculum. My guide covers several subjects taught in school. Some of the activities are also cross-curricular. For example, the art activity involves making a groundhog paper bag puppet. Later use the puppet in ELA for acting out and retelling the story. In this way, one activity allows for learning in two areas of the curriculum.
Teachers are always looking for ways to extend children’s learning into other curriculum areas. If your book is about baseball, then some of the math problems should have a baseball theme. Teachers can then adapt the lesson based on their state standards and grade level. I used addition and subtraction problems in the guide, but teachers can adapt those problems to reflect student learning and extend those problems to multiplication and division.
Creating Your Readers’ Guide
Here is a page-by-page breakdown of what I’ve included in my readers’ guide
1 – Inside front cover
2 – About the Author and Copyright page
3 – How to Use the Guide, Book Information, and Summary
4 – Table of Contents
5 – Comprehension Questions
6 – Math Word Problems
7 – Science connections
8 – Social Studies extensions
9 – Social Emotional Learning related to the story
10 – Fun Pages – Word Scramble
11 – Word Search
12 – Coloring pages
13 – Groundhog Craft Ideas
14 – Answer key
Promoting Your Readers’ Guide
Now that you have written your guide, what do you do with it? I make mine available to those who buy the book for free by email it to those who request a copy. I give a copy to the classroom teacher before my author visits too!
Here are some other ideas to promote your readers’ guide. You can add it as a download from your website. Post it on websites like Teachers Pay Teachers or Share My Lesson. Forward it to your publisher. They often hold a database full of educational contacts. Bring hard copies of the guide to library, festival, and bookstore events.
If you have your own tips for producing teachers’ resource guides for your books, I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to leave me a comment below. You can also contact me here if you would like a copy of my readers’ guide.
I am so glad you’re here and I thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you.
I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing.
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One last request …
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