"A picture book is what you read to someone sitting on your lap." Nick Bruel
Most of us have fond memories of reading with our parents or children. We probably even have a favorite picture book or picture book series. November is Picture Book Month and it’s time to celebrate that love!
No matter what grade your students are in, it’s time to get out the picture books and don’t limit your celebrations to just reading them. While most students love listening too and looking at picture books, they also want to write, make, and publish! Combine reading with technology and creative projects to engage learners and engage students in reading.
Creative writing is a hallmark of elementary writing. Writing their own stories is a great way to get started and it isn't hard for young students to find a story they want to share.
If you aren’t sure you have the time to commit to original narrative stories, use these lesson plans to connect student writing to curriculum you are exploring.
- Legends and Tall Tales – explore the classics and then write your own.
- Personification Stories – practice narrative writing as you tell the story of a common object.
- Modernize a Fairy Tale – take an old tale and make it new again.
- Idiomatically Speaking – have student illustrate the literal and figurative meaning of idioms.
In the early grades, you may want practice narrative writing through retelling. Instead of a typical beginning, middle, and end worksheet, ask students to write a four-page summary in Wixie or Pixie.
Make the first page a title, then add pages that show and tell what happened in the beginning (page 2), middle (page 3), and end (page 4). Print the project as a booklet in Wixie or Pixie and you can then print and fold to make a small booklet.
Sharing the books with parents is great first step. Then, mail them to other family members, place in a classroom library, or distribute through the school media center or cafeteria.
Adapt your favorite picture book
If the pictures books you love to read to your students have repeating patterns, consider having your class make their own version after you are done reading!
Books with repeating patterns (a hallmark of literature for emerging readers) like Mary Wore Her Red Dress by Merle Peek are perfect starting point for young authors.
But don’t limit yourself to literature either. There are lots of great pictures books for math that lend themselves to student adaptation as well!
Make informational picture books
A beautiful picture book can be informational text as well! In fact, the Picture Book Month calendar contains Non-fiction Mondays!
Consider having your students build your classroom’s library of informational text! Who knows better than a second-grade student how to write at an interest and reading level perfect for second graders? If you have students who are intimidated by non-fiction, exploring a book by another student is a lot less intimidating.
Students also love being experts. They often have high-interested in a specific area where they can share content level expertise with fellow students. You an also have them apply what they know to write how-to informational texts.
Publishing for other students also provides motivation for student writers to plan, organize, edit, and edit again. Working on the computer where they can easily edit text also makes writing and editing more enjoyable (PEW Research - Writing, Technology, and Teens).
Go digital with ePubs
While there may be few things more beautiful than a printed picture book, you can also make beautiful picture eBooks. Tools like Wixie can export student work (including voice narration!) in ePub format, which makes make it easy to give student work a wide audience. Email a file to grandma's iPad or post on your web site or shared drive for the community to download.
No matter what you choose to have students write or how you choose to publish, the important thing is to give voice to their ideas and meaning to their work. Picture Book Month might just provide the perfect reason to get started.
Find even more ideas to infuse technology into your reading program through the creative projects in the free guides for: