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The Power of Picture Books


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I created this slideshow a few years ago during my work with the Western Mass Writing Project.

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The Power of Picture Books

  1. 1. Integrating picture books into an upper-elementary school classroom By Kevin H. Summer Writing Institute - 2003 The Power of Picture Books
  2. 2. Maurice Sendak says : <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Picture book is a picture puzzle, badly misunderstood by its critics and condescended to by far too many as merely a trifle for ‘the kiddies’.” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Some misconceptions about picture books <ul><li>Only for young children </li></ul><ul><li>Not written by ‘real authors” </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures, not writing, are most important element </li></ul><ul><li>No deep thematic value </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why Use Picture Books? <ul><li>Visually- stimulating </li></ul><ul><li>Connects with children (and adults) of all ages </li></ul><ul><li>Variety in genre of writing – fiction/non-fiction/poetry </li></ul><ul><li>Reader-listener interactivity </li></ul><ul><li>Important themes and lessons </li></ul><ul><li>Character development </li></ul><ul><li>Connections across the curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Reading-writing relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Language acquisition tool for ESL students </li></ul>
  5. 5. How Can You Use Picture Books in Writing Class ? <ul><li>Journal responses </li></ul><ul><li>Writing from a different perspective/point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Author study </li></ul><ul><li>Genre study </li></ul><ul><li>Putting words to wordless books </li></ul><ul><li>Writing own picture books </li></ul><ul><li>Study of important issues raised </li></ul><ul><li>Reader’s theater </li></ul><ul><li>Study and use literary devices: alliteration, imagery, figurative language, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Writing for a specific audience </li></ul>
  6. 6. Using Picture Books Across the Curriculum <ul><li>In Art : study examples of different media and techniques; investigate relationship of text and pictures; view innovative art styles </li></ul><ul><li>In Math/Science : introduce new concepts; explore complex ideas; provide visual connections to field of study </li></ul><ul><li>In Social Science : raise social consciousness; investigate other world cultures; examine power struggles and human condition; seek ways to make a difference </li></ul>
  7. 7. Picture Books That Can Make a Difference <ul><li>The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry: a man who comes to chop down a tree in a rain forest is persuaded to stop by nearby animals </li></ul><ul><li>Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman: a black girl confronts racism in her school when she wants to be Peter Pan in a play </li></ul><ul><li>The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss: a boy and his grandfather are caught in the middle of a ridiculous war between two races of similar people </li></ul><ul><li>Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polaccio: a town forgets about the power of books until an aged librarian leads a revolution for literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Pink and Say by Patricia Polaccio: a white man and black man connect in the aftermath of the Civil War as a way to bridge racism </li></ul><ul><li>Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg: a litterbug boy dreams of a world where no one cares about the environment and then vows to change his ways </li></ul><ul><li>Wilford Gordon MacDonald Partridge by Mem Fox: An eldery woman regains her memories through a friendship with a young boy </li></ul>
  8. 8. Quotes from the “Experts” <ul><li>“ The present generation of students has come of age surrounded by visual stimuli. They regularly watch television, play video games and use computers with increasingly sophisticated graphics. Picture books are a natural for them …” – Robin Henry and Carol Simpson, in Teaching Librarian journal. </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is our contention that picture story books are more complex, challenging and provocative than is often thought to be the case.” - William Owens and Linda Nowell, in Social Studies journal. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I search for stories that speak to difficult issues children face in today’s world: issues of war and peace, of sickness and poverty, of cultural diversity, of new family patterns, of homelessness and helplessness.” – Maureen M. Miletta, in In The Classroom journal. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Thank You! Have a Great Summer