We are celebrating the power of picture books at Falmouth Elementary School during the month of November. At FES, we know that picture books are for everybody. In fact, the “E” on the spine label stands for “Everybody” in the FES Library.
Picture Book Month was founded by Dianne de Las Casas and several other children’s book authors and illustrators as a way of celebrating and drawing attention to the importance of picture books.
Students and teachers at FES are celebrating picture books by Skyping with classes in other states, reading to book buddies within the school, and creating videos about why we love picture books. Check back to see videos created by students and staff at FES. The 2014 FES Mock Caldecott titles will also be revealed later this month.
Why Do Picture Books Matter?
by Mrs. Potter, FES School Librarian
Picture books contain wonderful examples of art that children of all ages can appreciate. When we discuss illustrations in library class, students use art vocabulary such as color, line, space, texture and medium.
Picture books promote visual thinking strategies. I read Grandpa Green by Lane Smith to 24 classes last year, and each class noticed something different in the illustrations. Older students understood the symbolism in Smith’s illustrations, and they made excellent connections to their own lives.
Picture books introduce readers to new vocabulary words. Some picture books that appear to be for young readers are really targeted at readers with more sophisticated vocabularies. An example of this is Dear Mrs. LaRue by Mark Teague.
Picture books are an effective way to teach children about science or history. When I was a classroom teacher, I often started social studies units by reading picture books to provide children with background knowledge.
Picture books often contain example of literary devices such as irony, personification, hyperbole, and theme. Many teachers check out picture books from the library to use as mentor texts when teaching writing. Some fifth grade teachers like to use I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen to teach inferencing.
Picture books can lead to rich discussions with children about important topics. Mrs. Loef likes to read Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson to classes when she discusses bullying with third graders.
Picture books bring people together. Nothing warms my heart more than looking across the library and seeing children huddled around a Piggie and Elephant book as one child read with expression to the group.
View this Picture Book Month Video created by author, Katie Davis.