BLOGS  >  MAY 1, 2019

Get the Most Out of Your Picture Books

BY CARLY ACCOMANDO


 

"Picture books are often seen as literary baby food, the stuff we feed children until they have the teeth to eat real food. I would argue, however, that picture books are not baby food. They are not just for young children. In fact, I would argue that picture books are perhaps the most important literary format that we have.”

The above quote, taken from an article written by Rick Walton in 2017, Why Picture Books Are Important, And Why They Are for Everyone, is one of my favorite educational quotes I have ever read!

When I talk to others about things I am doing in my classroom this year, most people have the same remark, “Aren’t fifth graders too old to be learning from picture books?” My answer is absolutely not! I think that my class has gained so much more knowledge this year by using picture books as mentor texts, than they did last year by using the school-funded, 10-year-old curriculum.

It isn’t like we read one book, and then we are done with it. We use the same picture book for at least a week or more. When you choose beautiful and authentic picture books, there is so much you can dive into!

People also ask if my students get tired of using one picture book for an entire week. My answer to that is no! My students are always so excited to see what activity we will be doing with the book. Hearing the story more than once, while focusing on different skills, increases their comprehension.

We will soon be starting our unit on figurative language, so today I set up all of the books on display and my students could not wait to get their hands on them! I love seeing their excitement already and we haven’t even begun this unit.

It’s important to note that you do not just have to teach language arts with picture books. I also use picture books as mentor texts in both science and social studies. As I have mentioned before, this was the greatest decision I could have made.

Below are two pictures of my books on display. Nothing fancy – they’re just easily accessible for my students.


CARLY ACCOMANDO
Fourth Grade Teacher, McHenry IL
Carly Accomando is a fourth grade teacher at Duker School in McHenry, IL. It's her fourth year teaching, and this is her second year at Duker School. Previously, she taught first and second grade at a charter school. Says Carly, "Teaching is my greatest passion in life! I feel very fortunate to say that I truly love what I do. Each day is a new adventure." In her free time, Carly enjoys reading, baking and shopping. She also loves spending time with her family, boyfriend and their three dogs.


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