The Missouri Reader Vol. 42, Issue 1 - Page 12


P is for Post It Speech Bubbles: Give students Post It notes to add thoughts or words the characters might be thinking/saying. Regular Post Its can be used, or specially shaped sticky notes for thoughts/speech are also available to purchase.

I is for I See, I Think, I Wonder: This comprehension activity simply makes thinking visible! Encourage students to make observations (I see), make inferences (I think) and ask questions (I wonder) about what is happening in the illustration. As you read the book, begin piecing together the story, asking questions, and building comprehension. Here is a link to a free printable version of this task for student use. We chose to laminate these sheets for repeated use with dry erase markers. Another option is to cut the sheet into thirds and divide the class so some students do the I wonder while other classmates do I think or I see. Additionally, the entire class can do each one simultaneously using the ‘write it, hide it, show it” format similar to class whiteboards.

C is for Create Your Own Picture Inspired Story: Without a single word, illustrators communicate detail that engages readers of all ages. Ask your readers to select one illustration and tell/write their own story. The illustrations of WPB can serve as writing prompts or a tool for children to observe or infer their personal reactions to the setting, characters, and story events created by the author/illustrator (

T is for Take Turns with the Same Picture: Two students look at the same picture. Both are prompted to tell or write a short story to go with the picture. Students then compare stories to see different points of view. They could also interview one another with questions based on the same picture including: What do you think is happening here? What do you see that makes you think that? What do you think will happen next? Why?

U is for Uncovering the Picture: First, teachers completely cover a two-page spread of a WPB using Post It notes. Students then take turns pulling off one sticky note at a time to reveal small parts of the picture at a time. They are then encouraged to do a “close reading” of the revealed part of the picture making predictions about the scene as it is uncovered. Questioning that teaches the visual aspects of illustrations such as color, line, shape, and tone may initially mean asking “What do you notice?” and allowing time to observe more closely, then ask again (Doonan, 2000; Gangwer, 2009; Lambert, 2015). Only after allowing ample time for students to respond once or twice to their observations, teachers can model their thoughts, perplexities, and observations out loud to teach students how to examine and read illustrations for fuller meaning making of the narrative (Doonan, 2000; Lambert, 2015; Lohfink, 2012). Serafini (2014) suggests asking students to support their responses of what they observe in the picture and why they make that response.

R is for Record a WPB Story: Tremendous technology is available to assist in teaching today! There are great apps and websites for assisting with reading and writing in the classroom. We recommend first having students map out their thoughts with a story map. Then use Videoshop, or a similar app. to record their screen shots as they tell the story. There are several sites that offer free wordless eBooks to assist in this endeavor. One free app, Imagistory, allows for recording using either a published WPB in front of them or one they’ve created. Two “kid tested and mother approved” apps my children loved for story making and creating with voice overs are PuppetPals and Toontastic.

E is for Encourage Writing Their Own: Students can take or draw pictures to become the authors of their own WPB. Because visual literacy happens before reading print, young children may initially examine and observe the illustrations more closely than when they begin reading the text (Salisbury & Styles, 2012). This focus can help students to draw their own pictures to create their own stories. If creating multiple scenes for an entire story seems overwhelming to the budding author/illustrator, suggest drawing a single character “puppet” to be reused on varying scenes. A main character can be created on interfacing for flannel board retell, or a popsicle stick puppet or even self portrait puppet inserted into their original story. Beth Olshanky ( 2008 ) suggests having students draw first then add words as it leads to a richer storytelling experience.

.And then the bonus S is for Skills: Many Missouri Learning Standards and Missouri Early Learning Standards are covered when we share WPB with our students including: speaking/listening, predicting, vocabulary, inferring,

comprehending, close reading, writing, and content area integration, just to name a few. In fact, all of these have been touched upon just .