You have the perfect mini-lesson planned. You’ve picked a great text, and you are totally going to rock this lesson. However, as soon as the students go to practice, you are stuck juggling 20 different readers all at different stages. In fact, some of your students may never even get to practicing the skill you just taught so well because reading difficulties get in their way. What’s a teacher to do?
|Image Credit: Death to Stock Photo|
Here are a few reasons using pictures is the perfect way to teach reading skills.
- It takes reading level out of the equation. I cannot tell you how many times I have had an issue where my low readers aren’t able to truly do the skill we are working on with a text that is level appropriate. However, when I transition to pictures as part of my reading lesson, the students can focus on developing the actual skill. Instead of being lost in the vocabulary or their accuracy preventing them from understanding how to craft a main idea, they can focus on just crafting a main idea. This prevents them from falling even further behind.
- It encourages participation. We’ve all had those struggling readers who try to hide out in the corner during reading and avoid eye contact. No matter how much we scaffold or praise, they avoid participating in reading because they don’t feel confident. Using pictures lets these students build their confidence because they don’t have to actually read to be participating in building their reading skills.
- It helps break down language barriers. Pictures are often one of the key focus areas for ESL instruction. This just takes it to another level. When kids are see an image instead of getting lost in the phonics and other basic reading skills, they can build their vocabulary while building reading skills.
- It’s fun! So many low readers have lost their interest in reading. They know it is hard, and they don’t want to do it. In fact, some of them have even perfected the art of reading avoidance. This, unfortunately, spirals because (as we all know) students who read become better readers and those who don’t…well, they don’t. Using pictures makes the process of learning those important comprehension skills fun. Kids forget (or don’t realize…I’ll take either one!) that they are working on reading when they using photos.
In my room, I’ve used pictures as both a daily warm-up activity and as centers. I would pick a photo of the week and would use it to practice a ton of critical skills in reading. I started off easy on Mondays, where students only had to observe the photo and document what they noticed. From there they transitioned into thinking beyond the image- inferring, developing questions, and creating a 10 word main idea sentence. Since I did assessment and catch up on Fridays, the students would get a writing prompt that related to the image, allowing students to quick write independently while I pulled students.
After a few weeks, I discovered that even my lower readers were better able to apply these skills to text. They weren’t trying to learn to read and learn the comprehension skill at the same time. They’d built their comprehension toolbox in advance. Want to see more? Click here to get a week to test out in your classroom or click the image below to get a pack of 20 ready-to-use picture prompts.