The Benefits of Using Picture Books with Secondary Level Students

Have you ever thought of using picture books to teach middle or high school level literacy? It might not have crossed your mind, but they are actually a great tool to use to teach many literacy concepts. Reading picture books to middle and high school students might seem inappropriate for their age, but you may be surprised of the outcome.

What are the benefits?

Expand Vocabulary: Prior to reading a picture book aloud, you can introduce a few key vocabulary words that will be found throughout the story that may be challenging for your audience. Explain what they mean and discuss them throughout the reading.

Teach How to Use Context Clues: Picture books are a great way to teach how to use context clues to determine the meaning of words. Often while reading adult books you may find some words you don’t understand. This is why learning to use context clues is an important skill to have.

Increase Reading Comprehension: Although the students are not doing the reading, they are listening and understanding the story elements. You should ask questions during and after the reading to check for comprehension and keep readers engaged.

Teach How to Make Inferences: By reading aloud, you can model how to make an inference by pausing throughout the story and thinking aloud how you made a specific inference based on information read in the story.

For Enjoyment: Reading should be fun and if some people do not find it fun, reading picture books aloud should hopefully help readers develop a joy for reading. While reading, be sure to use expression. 

Make Predictions: Picture books are great for making predictions which is an important reading comprehension skill to understand. When students make predictions, it keeps them engaged in wanting to know what will happen next.

Believe it or not, middle and high school students will find picture books intriguing. There are many good picture books out there that contain a rich vocabulary and great story line. Besides, who doesn't like to listen to a good story? Picture books are short, and for this reason, a great teaching tool to quickly model the teaching points listed above.



*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

Ann Navarro

About Ann Navarro

Ann has teaching experience working with elementary students in the areas of bilingual education, dual language, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Ann holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a Reading Specialist Concentration. She also has experience evaluating lesson plans for the Smithsonian Institution. In her spare time, Ann enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and reading.

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