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Teaching with Picture Books: Thirteen Reasons

Page history last edited by Keith Schoch 8 years, 7 months ago

Picture books deserve a place in the upper elementary and middle school grades for a number of reasons. Through the Teaching with Picture Books site, I hope to make you a true believer! For those wondering, "Are picture books for me?" I've provided thirteen reasons why you should be using picture books almost daily. In fact, you'll discover that the same picture book can be revisited many times for many purposes.


This is by far my most popular static site; it has received 290,000 views as of December, 2010! Okay, that's not many compared with Baby Panda Sneezing or other viral videos on Youtube, but it's pretty good for a humble teaching site.


Sample entry from this site:


3. Picture Books Set a Purpose for Learning 

or, What's the Point?


From our Madeline Hunter days, we all know that our first step in the teaching process is to activate prior knowledge. Picture books allow you to activate not only prior knowledge but also attitudes, beliefs, and misconceptions. Picture books then create a bridge between the student's schema (internal organization of concepts) and the newly introduced learning.

Picture a Social Studies classroom. As students settle down, the teacher begins to read aloud the picture book The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia McKissack.

After reading, the teacher says, "I thought we all agreed yesterday in our discussion about elections that honesty is the best policy? This book seems to say almost the exact opposite! So who's right? Is there actually a time or a situation where deceit is not only allowed, but necessary?" And this discussion, in turn, leads to a lesson on leaders who knowingly misled their people for what they thought were the right reasons, under the given circumstances. (Click here for a lesson plan that uses The Honest to Goodness Truth).

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