Author Study | Lynley Dodd and her friend Hairy Maclary

Hello there! Welcome back to teacher types :)

My Term 1 Author Study was none other than Eric Carle which the children absolutely loved. Last term we studied the 'Hairy Maclary' series of books (as well as many others) by New Zealand author Lynley Dodd. Her sing song, rhyming and repetitive stories had the children engaged and eager to join in.

Hairy Maclary has his very own website here... with lots of interactive games, stories, characters and activities for school aged children. There is so much on here - we didn't even get to it all in one term!

If you're unfamiliar, here's a summary of all of the characters you'll find in the Hairy Maclary series...

**images from website

This is just a short list of some activity and lesson plan ideas to support this author study;

  • "Dog" and "cat" are great starting points to introduce rhyming concepts to young children. They can come up with their own rhyming words and record inside pictures of dogs and cats to display in the classroom
  • Do you know the game "doggy doggy who's got your bone?" Simply replace "doggy doggy" with "Hairy Maclary" for an independent, quiet time class game.
  • Here's the link to a Slinky Malinki resource that I found on TpT (I think because Lynley Dodd is a New Zealand author, and TpT is American, they weren't any other resources I could find)
  • Children can choose their favourite book and think creatively to design a new front cover for it
  • Write your own Hairy Maclary story by following this template "Out of the _____ and off for a ________ went _______________ from _______________". You could then combine the children's story writing and make a class book.

Here's a list of great You Tube links for some Lynley Dodd texts...


Some of my other favourite Lynley Dodd books are pictures below. They aren't part of the "Hairy Maclary" series, but we loved reading them anyway :)

  • The Smallest Turtle was a big hit in our class and it tied in beautifully with our Under the Sea theme.
  • The Nickle Nackle Tree made great connections with mathematical number concepts - starting a number 1 and going up to 14.
  • Dragon in a Wagon not only demonstrated rhyming concepts, but immersed the children into a world of imagination!


If you'd like to pursue the Author Study approach with your children here's a guide of how to go about it

  • Start with your curriculum and select your outcomes for the term.
  • Choose the author you'd like to study and make a list of all of their books.
  • Select your main texts to focus on and decide on a time line (e.g. one per week, one per fortnight - you can always read the others to tie them in to your unit)
  • Make a structure for your term overview of texts.
  • When you begin teaching the unit, introduce the author to the children (investigate where they come from and find this location on a map or globe).
  • When you introduce a text, spend some time looking at the front cover and make predictions.
  • Select a page of text, either type or blow it up on the IWB and examine it closely for sight words, punctuation, capital letters, move words around - does it still make sense?
  • Select your activities to match each text. Ensure a combination of worksheets, sequencing, cloze, writing tasks, hands on, art, songs, etc. Ask yourself - how can I make links with other curriculum areas?
  • Search the web for more resources (definitely do a search on TpT). Does this author have a website? Check for you tube clips of each text. Maybe the website has an audio version of the text that the children can listen to?
  • Keep texts accessible to children for them to read at their leisure.
  • At the conclusion of your unit, ask questions like - What book was your favourite? What similarities between the texts did you notice? Did the author work with the same illustrator for every text?

So it's nearly the end of school holidays and time to go back to school. Our next author study is Pamela Allen. Now that the children are half way through the year there is so much more they can do! Exciting times ahead!

Thanks for reading


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