Reading strategies and picture books? They’re a perfect combination!
Do you have a plan for teaching reading strategies to your K-2 learners?
Strategies like these:
- making predictions
- making connections
- setting a purpose for reading
- activating prior knowledge
- asking questions
- determining importance
Do we really have to teach all those reading strategies in K-2?
Yes and no.
We won’t have time to teach ALL these strategies in detail over a single school year (nor should we). But we can address most of them through picture books.
So what’s the point?
Why are we teaching reading strategies to readers so young?
The point is to help them make sense of what they read. Now, let me be clear – the point is NOT to make sure they learn every single detail about a particular book. The point is NOT so they can tell you the story forward and backward.
The point, instead, is to equip them with strategies to help them understand the books they read tomorrow and the day after that. With consistent modeling and guided practice, our students will make these strategies their own.
Really? Kids can learn advanced reading strategies through a basic picture book?
You bet. Especially when you find the best of children’s literature and combine it with a magical technique called the “think aloud.”
The magic of the “think aloud”
A think aloud is kind of like eavesdropping on someone’s thinking. It’s when you verbalize your thought processes as you read aloud to your students. Here are some things you can do as you think aloud:
- Share thoughts, reactions, and confusions that pop into your head while you’re reading.
- Show your students how you connect what you’re reading to events in your own life.
- Share the questions you have as you read even if you know they won’t be answered in the text.
- Share how you make inferences about the meanings of new words and new concepts.
- Show your students how you re-read when something doesn’t make sense.
Of course, read aloud isn’t the only time to teach reading strategies with picture books. You can also do it during the teaching point of your guided reading lesson. And you can support students as they use the strategies on their own during independent reading time.
A collaborative blog series! I’ve teamed up with my colleague, Becky Spence, of This Reading Mama. Over the next ten weeks, we’ll bring you blog posts that show you exactly how to use picture books to build strong readers.
Update: Here they are!