Many teachers give up on picture books too early. Picture books still have much to offer our aging students. Why should you still be reading picture books to your 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders? So many reasons! But here are 17...
1. Picture books can still be a great gateway into the world of reading for our young students. You can unlock the world in 15 minutes or less!
2. They give us an opportunity to share a complete story in a short amount of time. That story can have all of the elements of a great book- setting, characters, conflict, and resolution.
3. Picture books are a good model for writing for our students. Let's face it...most of our students are not writing novels. Picture books are a much more realistic model for our students to follow- fiction and nonfiction.
4. Picture books are a great way to teach our students about character. They help to make the abstract more concrete. The books Zero, One, and Two are great examples.
5. They are numerous and offer a huge variety of books for every genre. I can quickly show my students an example of a fantasy book or an sample of a mystery.
6. Most 3rd- 5th graders are already reading chapters books so they breeze on by the picture section of the library. Since they are reading chapter books on their own, why not read picture books to them in class?
7. I love the way picture books give us an opportunity to show off how to use expression correctly. Make the books come alive for your kiddos!
8. They also allow us teachers to involve students with shared reading when we read books that have patterns or are well known. I always tell students which part is theirs when we start a book like this. They love joining in on the reading.
9. I enjoy the intimate way I can share picture books with my students. I have a carpet area and rocking chair for just this reason.
10. Picture books have such a rich language! Thinking that all picture books are stripped down literary pieces is just plain wrong. Anyone who has ever read Flossie and the Fox or 3 Little Cajun Pigs knows that these books are so rich in language that you have to practice them before reading them aloud! And many picture books contain examples of figurative language by using tools such as alliteration, personification, and metaphors. What a great way to teach the use of language!
11. Picture books can teach critical thinking skills. I particularly love to expand on the Higher Order Thinking Skills by teaching fairy tales. I can read 5 or 6 different versions of a fairy tale that we can dive into and dissect.
12. Since I still enjoy reading some of these books over and over, why wouldn't my students enjoy hearing them again? There is something wonderful about coming home to a dearly loved book.
13. Many picture books are multi-layered just like novels. Students can gleam different things each time they read the book. Have you ever looked at the size of the illustrations in Where the Wild Things Are? Why do the pictures get bigger and then decrease in size?
14. Picture books give us a great opportunity to compare examples of an author's work! It is so fun to read all of my favorite Audrey Woods' books and compare and contrast them with the students.
15. Picture books give reluctant readers a place to start. These shorter books are less threatening than a chapter book.
16. A picture book can easily bridge the road to learning about a certain topic. Reading Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of a Shopping Mall Gorilla can get students ready for learning about appropriate habitats and animal rights.
17. Lastly, picture books are FUN! Fun for me to read and fun for my kiddos to hear!