Using Pictures to Teach Key Reading Skills
By Mary Montero
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I blog a lot about how I use pictures to teach key reading skills, and I’m passionate about their impact on student learning. If you’re familiar with my blog, you have probably noticed students working with pictures in many, many ways. If you’ve never tried it, I know you may be skeptical of its value. Trust me when I say that It is incredibly impactful, engaging, and it sticks with students for years to come.
Almost any time I introduce or review a new reading skill, I do so using a picture. Why?
So many kids are visual learners.Kids love reading picture books, and there is a reason for that! As students get
older, we tend to teach skills using isolated passages (which, please don’t get me wrong, is vitally important), but taking a look at it visually—with no text—is invaluable to some kids who need to learn a different way.
It is easy differentiation! Using pictures almost always requires students to generate their own ideas rather than answer a multiple choice question or put a sequence of events in order. The options are limitless with pictures—you can have students do a most basic task within the skill or you can get highly complex, involving inferences, predictions, schema, etc.
I can include science or social studies topics in my pictures, making the learning transdisciplinary. When students are prepping for big tests in other areas, I can select a picture that relates to that topic and use it in
conjunction with our reading skill. Double dipping at its finest!
We use different levels of texts to teach different ideas. Each student has their instructional level and independent level. Using pictures when I’m teaching is a little bit like teaching them to read at their instructional level. They can understand a picture, so before they have to wrap their heads around applying a new concept to texts (that they are still having to decode, comprehend, etc.) they can understand the new concept using something that is familiar to them—real life!
Kids are ENGAGED! I have never had a student moan or groan when I pull out a big picture to dissect. For these examples, we spent about 5 minutes at the beginning of reading each day this week to review a number of skills. We generated the ideas together, and I or a student recorded them on the paper. You could do the same thing to teach the skill (rather than review it), and you could use it as a carousel activity, too, which is on my favorite ways to do this!
I also frequently use one picture to review several reading skills, like this:
Here is a brief list of skills I have reviewed using pictures…
I have also used pictures to teach language skills as well. Here is an example of one we did to review nouns and verbs. I have also done it for adverbs and adjectives.
If you haven’t tried it, print out a picture next week, and see what fun you will have with your students!
And before you go, be sure to hop around the other 150 Bright Ideas Blog posts! There are always so many great ideas during this link up, and I’m honored to be a part of it again! You will find great teaching ideas, classroom management tips, and organizational solutions. Settle in…you will be reading for a while!
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.