Why Use Picture Books?

Reactions to “Aren’t These Books for Little Kids?” and  “A Middle School Teacher’s Guide for Selecting Picture Books”

            Using picture books in a middle school classroom is an idea I was introduced to a few months ago, and I am still sometimes having trouble fully understanding how useful this can actually be. These two articles really opened my eyes and helped me better appreciate what picture books have to offer, even to older kids. Before, I thought the main point of using the picture books was simply that the illustrations add to the understanding of the text while also drawing students in. This aspect of picture books is definitely true, but there are also many more reasons why using them can be a positive thing. Oftentimes, picture books zero in on one specific topic more than a textbook does. This can help students get more of the details rather than just a broad concept. Also, they can be used to show multiple perspectives. Overall, I think one of the biggest take-away points from these articles is that picture books are a great way to help students relate to the material and see how it connects to their own lives. Picture books can aide in teaching about war by adding a face to the people and the situation rather than just raw memorization of facts. They can aide in a math classroom by teaching math concepts through a story about a girl who hates math, something that the students will be able to relate to.  

            Picture books are simply something different. As a teacher, you can’t always know what to expect or how students will react to different things you use in your classroom. Using picture books is just one more way to differentiate and hopefully get more students on board with what is being discussed. I also thought it was really interesting how both of these articles talked about the benefit of using picture books for ELL students. The illustrations can help these students understand the text and slowly help to increase their knowledge of English. When a teacher starts asking questions about a picture book, such as “Whose voice is not being heard?” or “What ethical issue is being raised?”, I think students will be surprised by how much a picture book contains and how much they can learn from one. 


One thought on “Why Use Picture Books?

  1. I agree that there are many surprising uses for these books. Raising those complex questions around a simpler story can give students a lot to think about. It can also lead to better critical inquiry of longer texts.

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