The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Seriously, that is what I thought was happening last week as I started to hear about an article on October 8. The article published in the New York Times was about how picture books are losing their popularity. As I read the piece, my mind was racing. Picture books are such an amazing resource and now parents actually are knowingly pushing their children away from them in favor of chapter books. Yikes!
My oldest son is seven years old now. As a second grader, I have to admit that I would love him to read more chapter books. Check that, I would like him to read some high quality chapter books to broaden his horizons. Unfortunately, my son has no real interest in them. He already finished the Magic Treehouse books, and read a few others in the past. Now, he’s more interested in flying solo to complete his 100 books for the Readers to Leaders program at his school. My philosophy: Reading is the most important part of this equation – read and I will be happy. Seriously, I am not going to fight my child. If he wants to devour 3-4 picture books in a sitting over a chapter book I am game. The end product is he is being exposed to people, places and things that he never would have met without the stories.
When we go to the library, picture books are a staple for us. I often pick out nonfiction books by authors like Gail Gibbons and others to offer different genres. As a second grader, I am able to talk to my son and ask him what genre of book this would be. He can also answer how did the author wrote it, what are the story elements are, and more. Yes, he can answer these important questions which not only assist him as a reader, but encourage him within his own writing.
When I was teaching Language Arts to sixth graders, I also used picture books. Yes, even at the middle school level picture books can play an important role. One of my units of study was the book (chapter book) Ella Enchanted. We started off the time by reading a variety of Cinderella stories. For several days, we sat for story time listening to different tales of Cinderella and family. My students learned about different cultures and were able to see how different authors interpreted a classic tale. Comparing and contrasting the stories using Vehn Diagrams (a skill needed for ELA exams) was then completed along with some other tables about the books. Next, we listened to Ella Enchanted on CD. Then we watched the movie to write an essay on the difference/similarities of the book and movie Ella Enchanted (the lesson learned – you can not watch a movie to do a book report). At the same time, my students were also creating their very own Cinderella story to publish. We went to the computer labs to type them up, print them out and eventually they were bound with their own illustrations. It was an amazing accomplishment all thanks to the inspiration of other picture books read.
I would love for you to chime in on this hot topic in the world of books. What do you think about the role of picture books in the world?
Here are what some others have written on the topic: If you have something just let me know and I will add it to this list:
- GeekMom – The Reason We Should Read Picture Books to Older Kids
- On Our Minds @ Scholastic – Picture this…
- Brimful Curiosities – Do you buy picture books? We do!
I would like to thank the authors and publishers of picture books for their creations. The memories that I have from readingy your books as a child, teacher and parent are one that will forever be in my heart.
So what have you read recently? Please be sure to link up to your Tuesday Tales and/or leave a comment below. Include something you read on your own, with a child or someone else. Tuesday Tales are all about spreading the love for books.