It is usual for teachers to read to children in classrooms. Ideally, our classrooms are full of books that we read to students and they spend time with daily. We may even have a book that we read for its link to another curriculum area. But have you considered using a picture book as the jumping off point for your literacy program to teach oral language, vocabulary, comprehension and writing? Further, have you thought of using picture books for your class all the way to year 6?
Before, we get into choosing picture books, let’s talk about why picture books are a good idea.
- Stories speak to us as human beings. Every culture on earth has a set of stories that tell the history and values of its people. Stories reach us as nothing else can. What better to capture the interest of your students than an engaging story?
- Picture books provide a multi-sensory path to the language and content of the story. This is particularly important for students with compromised auditory processing or who have English as an additional language or dialect.
- The Australian Curriculum requires students to demonstrate understanding of the interplay between text and pictures. Picture books bring this to life.
- Using picture books means that you will be able to engage students in study of the whole text quite quickly. Unlike a novel study, you can unpack the plot or whole text early, rather than having to wait weeks until everyone has read the book.
- Picture books are a terrific model for the language and structures that you would like to see students using in their writing. They have been shown to be a rich source of vocabulary, far richer than television shows or children’s own speech.
Here is a video lesson from my upcoming Teach Along. This lesson outlines the value of picture books for learning.
We may think of picture books as being for younger children, but there are many books that are entirely suitable for upper primary students. When choosing texts, consider the genre you wish to teach, the age of students and how long a text might be suitable, the language and writing goals you have for your students. It is also advisable to choose texts that have an emotional hook that you students will be able to engage with.
Pictures books are a terrific model for the language and writing that you would like your students to use. If you would like to learn more about how to structure teaching in oral language, grammar, comprehension and writing using picture books as a jumping off point, you can learn more in my next Teach Along. Click here to find out more.
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