I spend time in class reading aloud, and the most enjoyable moments come from sharing picture books. My current classes gather in the meeting area and students listen intently, sometimes even applauding at the end. Why do I do this? I cannot possibly list all the reasons here in this brief post (there are so many!). Using picture books in middle school and upper grade classrooms has recently been a feature topic in many research and education articles. I add my two cents here:
- Picture Books are short and teach lessons within a tight time frame. No need to expand on this one — I have 45 minutes in a class period. The more I can cram in, the better. Why not cram in the good stuff — the stuff that teaches and engages students at the same time?
- Picture Books are fun! Students enjoy listening and responding. Teachers enjoy sharing the love of reading in this simple manner. Baby books? Not anymore!
- Picture Books teach the standards, in overlapping, spiraling, content lessons that teachers can revisit many times during the school year. These mentor texts help students to identify, connect, discuss, comprehend, and respond to curriculum goals in all subject areas:
Perspective/Fitting In: Gaston (DiPucchio), I Don’t Want to Be a Frog (Petty). “Living Your Dreams/Finding What You Want in Life” is our current theme for our reading workshop assigned textbook.
Perspective/The World Around You (Science): Look Closely Inside the Garden, Look Closely in the Rainforest (series by Serafini)
Problems/Solutions: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Barnett), 14 Cows for America (Deedy)
Using Figurative Language/Personification/Perspective: The Day the Crayons Quit (Daywalt), Voices in the Park (Browne), The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (Scieszka)
Art Appreciation/Analyzing Visuals: 14 Cows for America, Fox
Historical Events (Social Studies): Blizzard (Rocco)
As you can see, picture books can be used in classrooms to create awesome opportunities for learning and loving reading. Have fun sharing your favorites!