Picture Books in the Classroom – Not just for storytime!

11 Sep

I tweeted this story yesterday, but thought that it was so interesting that I wanted to get the chance to comment on it today. Yesterday, on the School Library Journal website they posted an article titled, “Teachers Find Many Reasons to Use Picture Books with Middle and High School Students.”  The writer spoke to a number of middle school and high school teachers who use picture books in their classrooms to assist in critical thinking, learning as an English Language Learner, as an introduction to classic text and to create a community of readers.

For many students, I would expect classic picture books can take them straight back to their childhood.  I think picture books can make English class more accessible for students, because picture books seem unassuming and inviting.  Picture books also make a great study for vocabulary, which is why it’s so important to read aloud to your children every day.  The rich vocabulary is very different from every day spoken word and studies show that children are more ready to learn when they get to school if they’ve been read to regularly at home.

In the library, it’s not uncommon that I’ll hear a parent talking with a child saying, “Oh, don’t take that baby book, you’re a big kid now.”  And it breaks my heart, picture books are not just for babies, in fact they aren’t the best choice for babies at all.  They’re great for absolutely everyone, including preschoolers, elementary, middle school, and high school students, not to mention adults.  And don’t even get me started on the art that book illustrators create, it can be absolutely stunning!

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