Picture books are engaging and thought provoking. The strong visual imagery is enlightening and aids in comprehension. Picture books deserve a place in upper elementary and middle school classrooms. Using picture books across the curriculum can enhance learning opportunities for all learners. Here a few reasons why picture book are essential:
1. Picture Books cut to the Chase! The content is focused. No need to read chapters to highlight specific content. If reading about certain historical events such as, the Holocaust or Segregation laws, reading a novel or a text book can be stressful and time consuming. A picture book is specific and visual. The content can be delivered quickly.
2. They are safe! For some reluctant readers the thought of reading through a 300 page textbook is daunting. Picture Books offer a safe alternative. They are engaging, and specific to the topic. The pictures offer a safe haven. The illustrations are content rich and thought provoking, and lessens the anxiety. Picture books will ease the hesitation, while maintaining the content.
3. Picture Books are differentiated! Picture books vary in reading levels. There are picture books for early readers and advanced readers on the same content. If you are teaching a lesson on the solar system, there is a picture book to accommodate the various reading levels of your students.
4. Picture Books can provide a common background knowledge! Picture Books can provide background knowledge needed to explore certain topics. If you are teaching a lesson on the Holocaust, a picture book can provide the imagery and background knowledge to all students. Prior to reading, The Diary of Anne Frank a picture book will ensure the prior knowledge needed to understand the context.
5. They provide exemplary examples of literary techniques! A picture book can serve as a Mentor text, when teaching literary techniques. If you are teaching a lesson on figurative language, picture books are the perfect tool. They are short and focused and waste little time in their examples. Students are rarely asked to write stories with chapters. Why use a chapter book as a Mentor text. Pictures Books can provide the perfect example in a succinct manner.
6. Picture Books can provide connections to concepts! If teaching Financial literacy, a picture book can provide insight on how money is earned or saved. This can be done prior to learning specific math concept. In science class a picture book can ignite curiosity and provide a spring board to scientific investigations.
There are many more benefits of using Picture Books in upper elementary and middle school classrooms, these are just a few. Click Link below for 50 more ways to use picture books across the curriculum.
Below is a great Database of Picture Books and themes: