SPECIAL SECTION THEMED ISSUE
Figure 1 cont.
How does the image tie into the text?
I went to look at the image when the author said See Table A.” “I took my time to figure out what it was showing me.” “Then I went back and looked at what the text said.” “It said that many people live in houses, but only slightly less live in apartments.” “I had to think about whether that made sense with my viewing of the image.” “It did.” “I looked to see if there was additional information in the image that the author didn’t share in the text before reading on in the chapter.
By helping students to view images critically and to realize the important role they play in text, we are developing their literacy skills. In addition, understanding the relationship between words and images in text will help prepare them for the more complex text they will encounter in the future.
Moving Beyond Viewing to Creating Images
Students must not only understand information provided in images, but they need to be able to create meaningful images. Both of the following early childhood teachers incorporate images in informational text with their hands on activities and then encourage the students to create their own images.
Creating Images with Labels
Amy, a kindergarten teacher, had her students examine text images as they participated in an egg hatching activity in her class. This led her students into creating images with labels similar to those they might see in informational text.
Right before the eggs arrived, Amy asked her students to draw a picture of a chick and to show what they knew about chicks. Many of the students had limited knowledge about chicks, other than the fact that they hatched from eggs, and they put very few details on the images they drew. Figure 2 is one child’s drawing before the unit began.
Then as the students waited for the eggs to hatch, she read many nonfiction books about chicks and eggs (e.g. What’s in That Egg, Baines (Baines, 2009), See How They Grow: Chicks (Royston, 2007) ) to the children. They also watched videos, looked up information on chicks, and talked about the images they saw. They talked about labeled images and how information is shown in labels.
After the unit, students were encouraged to create another image including labels showing some of the information they learned. Figure 3 is one child’s post unit drawing. He added on some of the terms he had heard and seen such as wings (wigs), body (bode), feet (fet), and feathers (fethers).