Why Picture Books Are Important by Brian Smith

by Dianne on November 4, 2017

Why Picture Books Are Important by Brian Smith

There are several reasons why picture books are so important. Picture books serve as way to explore the world beginning at the youngest of ages. It’s how kids learn about their own heritage, diversity of all kinds, and the possibilities that this world possesses. Picture books are not only the gateway to all worlds known but also unknown. I love how picture books not only keep our imaginations alive, but they stretch our imaginations beyond the point where we thought they were capable of going. They keep our imaginations elastic and that keeps our world full of wonder and innovation. A picture book can ignite a spark that turns into a flame and pushes even the smallest of kids to do amazing things. Picture books change the world. They promote kindness, being yourself, bravery and every other positive construct and ideal that we try to instill in our kids today.

I remember loving The Little Golden Book The Poky Little Puppy and Curious George as part of my earliest memories. I loved how the five puppies went out and explored the wide, wide world. I also loved how the poky little puppy used his senses to always remind the other puppies that they belonged home. I couldn’t get enough of Curious George and his amazing adventures because they also taught me that the world is a big and wondrous place and that is the lesson that I want my child and all my students to remember as we turn each page.

All About Brian Smith
Brian Smith is currently teaching a Kindergarten/first grade combination class at Wittenburg Elementary School in Alexander County, NC. He was extremely honored and humbled to have been selected as the Alexander County Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018. He is a state level keynote speaker, national presenter, and an advocate for all students. He is also a Top Teaching blogger for Scholastic and has been a featured guest blogger both nationally and internationally including Islambad ASCD’s blog, eReader’s Theater, and School Outfitters. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University where he teaches several classes, including Differentiation, Children and Adolescent Literature and a reading course. He is also certified to teach Exceptional Children and academically gifted students. His undergrad degree is from Lenoir-Rhyne University (although it was just a College when he went there) and his Masters in Elementary Education is from Gardner-Webb University.

Brian has delivered a TEDxHickory talked called Building a Better Teacher. He was named to the ASCD Emerging Leader class of 2015. He has been a featured teacher and book reviewer for Teacher Magazine. He is currently the Vice President of the North Carolina branch of the International Dyslexia Association, treasurer of the local chapter of the Autism Society, and a board member of the Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center. He served as a Scholastic Book Club Teacher Advisor in 2013 and 2014 and has been featured in their monthly flyers twice. Brian also founded a Saturday morning All Boys’ Book Club for third grade students and an avid reader who has a passion for getting the right book in the right hands at the right time.

Literacy Activity
November 4 – Monkeys

“Children are born scientists; and picture books, like Science, are about the spirit of curiosity and exploration.” (from Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013)

Encourage students to ask questions before, during and after reading aloud sessions. It fosters imagination, wonder and curiosity.

A good way to start with inquiry based read aloud sessions is to generate questions about the theme of a picture book. Initiate by asking questions and writing them on the board or on flashcards.

What does it mean to be curious?
Are all monkeys curious?
What makes George a curious monkey?
Why did the author choose a monkey as the lead character?

During read aloud, go back to some questions which you think can be answered by the text either directly or implicitly. For questions left unanswered, take time to compile them for a research activity in the library. Ask the help of the school librarian for resources he or she can recommend and prepare ahead of time. He or she can even be your teaching partner on the use of different sources of information and how these resources are helpful in finding out answers to questions.

Suggested reading:
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra
The Complete Adventures of Curious George by Margaret Rey
Where’s My Mom? by Julia Donaldson
Monkey with a Tool Belt by Chris Monroe

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum.

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