Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Picture Books for High Schoolers

There is one activity that is sure to delight my students: Storytime. It doesn't matter what age students are, they are all about Storytime. For younger kids, Storytime is a great way to introduce and encourage reading. You probably remember when your teacher would read a fun picture book. She'd pause at the end of every page and show the picture around to the whole class. She'd read with different voices for all of the characters. You could just let your mind relax and enjoy the story.

As students get older, Storytime can still be a valuable part of education. Obviously, it's used a bit differently. How? It's called "scaffolding". Scaffolding is when you teach students a new skill by making it easier and eventually working up to the desired skill level, and beyond. Storytime is a great way to scaffold. You'd be surprised at the amount of picture books that can be used in the older classroom and used well.

Are your kids doing poetry? Are they struggling with meter? Bring in some Dr. Seuss! You'd be surprised how many of the kids love Dr. Seuss. Want to teach kids about the Hero Cycle? Where the Wild Things Are is a great way to quickly go over sections of a hero's journey. Characterization? Plot? Symbolism? You can do all kinds of Storytime activities using these books.

If you're thinking kids might roll their eyes and blow this off, you're wrong. Kids love it. They eat it up. I don't know why. The point is that it works. Sometimes focusing on a short, complete story that has pictures and is fun to read can really help kids build a skill. After using the picture book, you need to follow up with a more challenging text to help drive home the skill. It's great to have the picture book to refer to if a few kids continue to have trouble with the skill.

You might laugh at this idea, but whatever makes learning easier is okay with me.

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