It never fails. I pull out a picture book to read to my two youngest, the 2 and 4 year old, and the older two are over my shoulder. It doesn’t seem to matter what age, we love picture books. My older two are in the 5th and 7th grade, and I wondered why more teachers of older students don’t use these great resources. They are quick easy reads that engage and intrigue readers that are also packed full of literary skills.
I recently facilitated a professional development for teachers in grades 5th – 12th on ways to incorporate picture books into their instruction. I had more fun planning this PD then any other I have done. I trolled thrift stores, used book shops, and the local library for great picture books. I found so many great resources and didn’t pay more than $5 for any book. Many were under a $1. You don’t have to pay a lot for a good book. I also started an Amazon wish list and plan to buy a couple of books each month to build my classroom library.
I set up the PD placing the books that I had found on display and then allowed teachers to choose at random a book to read. Each book also had a page of related skills that could be taught from that book. The teachers were so quiet as they read, studied the skills, and added their own thoughts to each page. After they read, the teachers shared their book and its related skills with those at their table. We did this for three rounds so each teacher was exposed to at least 12 picture books. After the session, I shared all the skills sheets for each book with them with their included notes.
The feedback for this PD has been some of my best. Two said it was their favorite so far, a few have emailed about books they have used in class, and one wrote me to tell how a student thanked her for using a picture book in class. So, I want to share these books and skills with other teachers. For the next 30+ days I will be posting a book a day to my blog along with the skill sheet and links to Amazon. I am hoping it sparks the desire to teach the books in your own classroom or at least go out and find your own books to teach. After all, I still love picture books, don’t you?
Be sure to follow my blog for upcoming picture books and the great ways to teach literary skills using these picture books.