A picture can say 1,000 words or even better teach literacy and critical thinking
I think we can all agree that being able to read gives us power. Power to understand the world around us and to communicate. There are many components to early literacy. The more children hear the spoken word the larger their vocabulary will become strengthening their ability to understand stories and conversations around them. When the skill of reading is developed, there is much more than just fluency (the ability to read the actual word). Strong reading skills include comprehension and the ability to make connections with stories.
Children become familiar with books at a very young age. Just like at home, at Misty Morning Children’s Center children are surrounded by books as early as our Infant room. Children every day and are provided the freedom to handle the books, flip the pages, ask for specific stories to be read (sometimes over and over), as well as are introduced to new stories. A great way to also get children to become interested in a story and to develop those essential early literacy skills is the picture walk.
What is a picture walk? It’s quit simple but powerful. Before opening the book, show your child the title the cover and read the title. You can ask him or her what they think the book will be about. It’s a great tool to repeat what s/he says to encourage more conversation and thought. Create questions using the Who, What, When, Where, How method, such as “Who do you think this story is about?”; “Where do you think they are going?” ;“What do you think the boy will do next?”; “When do you like to paint?”; “How do you think that happened?” Follow the child where ever he or she takes you. Even the youngest children can participate in this activity. At first your child may simply point out an object in the picture “Dog” but you can add a little more. “You are right, it’s a dog and he is black and it looks like he is jumping. Why do you think he is jumping?” Give your child time to respond. It may take a few additional seconds while he/she pictures what could be happening.
Following the picture walk, read the story together with your child. Was the story similar to what he/she thought? Does she remember doing something similar? How would he solve the problem?
Incorporating the picture walk supports the development of vocabulary and comprehension. It allows children to begin predicting and building sentence skills. Not to mention the joy it provides us adults as we share time together exploring the world through the magic of reading.