Reading Without Limits

Maddie Witter

Use Picture Books in High School

one of my favorite picture books

one of my favorite picture books

Why don’t high school teachers use picture books more often?

I get it.  There’s a fear that picture books are “baby books” or are “dumbing down” our curriculum.  The Common Core is pushing that we incorporate more difficult texts in our instruction, and I wholeheartedly  agree.  However, that doesn’t mean that picture books should get the boot!

Here are my reasons why all high school teachers should have picture books in their classrooms:

1) Picture books are an excellent tool in teaching determining importance, summarizing, theme, and main idea.  Why? You can read the entire book from beginning to end in one sitting.

2) Picture books often are filled with figurative language that’s just waiting to be analyzed.

3) Authors must be extremely intentional when choosing which words to use in their book.  Therefore, picture books are a great resource in teaching author craft.

4) Create a program where students in your high school class work with students in first grade.  The high school students teach students how to read using picture books.  Teach students how to create lesson plans for strategic thinking. This is also an excellent way to weave in character education!

5) As mentioned in #3, picture books leave a lot unsaid and thus perfect for inferences.

What are some of my favorite picture books?

1) An Angel for Solomon Singer by Cynthia Rylant

2) A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

3) Possum Magic by Mem Fox

4) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

5) Terrible Things by Eve Bunting

Looking for more? Check out this list.  And a fun update: Why nonfiction picture books should be featured prominently in high school libraries.

Principals: order more picture books for your teachers.  I recommend that a school reads one picture book a month together.  First, that’s a fun way to spend an afternoon as a staff.  For the pd, the group can generate all the different lessons from one book.  Lend the book out when you’re done to students who want to read it aloud to their siblings.  Win, win, win.

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2013 by in Reading Lessons and tagged , , .

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