Why I Love PicBooks
I am a huge fan of picture books – but, not the cute little rhyming ones for very young kids. Here is why I love picture books so much. People believe that picture books are only for the very young. I love the ones that no one notices that are for older kids. I’ve used them in my Reading Lessons for 20 years and even in the high school. The trick is to find the ones that are high-leveled and fit as examples to:
- Teach Reading Skills
- Build Vocabulary
- Introduce topics for school subjects
- Encourage deep thinking
- Entice kids to find hidden meaning
- Arouse curiosity to learn more
I have searched long and hard over my 20 years of teaching to find these books. I’ve used them in all my Reading lessons. I’ve created courses for teachers using them. I’ve been invited with a colleague to present at a New York City literacy conference to explain their use across the grades and subjects. I’ve discovered, used, and loved my picture books for years and years.
You Tube Storytime
Now that I’ve retired, they sit on shelves in my basement screaming for attention. So, I decided to ease the boredom of our COVID-19 quarantine by reading them to children on a channel I started on You Tube, Creating Smart Readers (link on the right).
To enhance the stories for parents or adults who are trying to keep learning going at home, I am sharing some of my lessons in Read-Aloud Guides. They include reading skills, tricky words and language, discussion questions to motivate kids to find hidden meaning, and after-reading activities for crafts, research, day trips, and academic graphic organizers and writing.
This week’s story is, The Mouse and the Moon. I am including a free downloadable Read-Aloud guide here for you. The Mouse and the Moon. The story is about finding friends.
Another favorite story about friendships is The Little Beaver and the Echo. Both these stories can lead to learning about the phases of the moon, space travel, life in a pond, and animal life cycles.
A Word About Lexile Levels
A Lexile Level is the new way of saying Reading Level. As you can see from the chart on the right, there is a “range” of numbers that coordinates with a grade level. These numbers are for an average reader. Amazon.com, where I buy most of my books, now lists a Lexile level for most of its children’s books. So, when you are searching for a book for your child, you need to know his or her reading level. Most schools give a formal reading test twice a year. Please know your child’s reading level.
Don’t be fooled by Picture Books! They are often advertised for young children but, when you look at the recommended reading level (Lexile level), you will notice they are often not appropriate for a child at the age or grade stated. This drives me crazy! That is why I am sharing Read-Aloud Guides with parents. Please use part of all of the guide when reading aloud to your children. You become their “reading guide.” You show the kids how good readers think and ask questions in their heads and figure out confusing words or parts when they read. Do this first and watch in surprise when the kids mimic your thinking when they go off next and read the book on their own.
High leveled Picture Books – the ones that are meaty with words, that prompt kids to ask questions and search for hidden meaning, and arouse curiosity in learning more – are the ones I like to use. I will provide you with many Read-Aloud guides. There are more available in my jumbo book that gives all kinds of ideas for older kids. Until next time,