Using Picture Books in the Secondary Classroom Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:24:05
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There are many reasons to use picture books in middle and high school classrooms (Albright, 2002, 418). Picture books are very useful in all subject areas and all content areas that are taught to secondary students (Albright, 200, 418). There are three stages of planning and implementing that must be considered and understood when utilizing picture books in instructing older children (Albright, 2002, 419). In order to effectively use picture books during read aloud, the secondary teacher must plan, prepare and produce (Albright, 2002, 419).

A teacher must plan what book will go with what lesson and ensure that the text is age appropriate (Albright, 2002, 420). The teacher must also prepare a lesson that will make use of the picture book in such a way that students will be engaged in the text within the book (Albright, 2002, 421). Finally, the teacher must produce learning using the selected picture book. In other words, the teacher must be able to observe students learning the intended outcomes while listening to and learning from the picture book (Albright, 2002, 421).

The primary focus of using picture books in higher grades is to increase students literacy skills and ability to analyze short stories (Tiedt, 2000, 1). Picture books have a great deal to offer middle and high school students (Tiedt, 2000, 1). There are four major reasons why teachers should consider using picture books in teaching secondary students (Tiedt, 2000, 1). The first is that picture books are useful resources for promoting good classroom discussions (Tiedt, 2000, 1).

Second, picture books provide engaging models for teaching writing (Tiedt, 2000, 1). Third, students can improve their oral language skills as they read out loud, performance dramatic reenactions and tell stories (Tiedt, 2000, 1). Fourth, can use picture books as models to write their own picture books and therefore enhancing their own individual creativity (Tiedt, 2000, 1). There are many reasons why picture books are so useful and should be incorporated into secondary classrooms (Young, 1).

The themes of many picture books are appropriate for all ages and they include many genres that cover topics of importance to students of all ages (Young, 1997, 1). Second, many new picture books are published each year and older students may not have had the benefit of reading these new books. Using new picture books in secondary school settings exposes older students to resources they may otherwise have missed as new picture books incorporate better artwork and more high quality metaphor and description (Young, 1997, 1).

Third, picture books are incorporating many more real world events and topics than they have in the past. For example, more picture book writers are writing about such issues as war, global warming and nuclear destruction (Young, 1997, 1). Fourth, the short format of books allows for easy incorporation into lessons. The material in short picture books is easy for secondary students to comprehend and therefore students are able to quickly grasp the subject so they can move on towards creatively applying the material to the topic or subject being studied (Young, 1997, 1).

Finally, picture books the pictures in picture books can be used as a comprehension aid for secondary students (Young, 1997, 1). In the current age of television and video games, secondary students have become accustomed to using pictures to make connections so picture books build on this ability. The visual cues in pictures allow students to easily comprehend what they are reading and use those applications in the lesson material (Young, 1997, 1). One subject where picture books can be enormously useful is in math (Spicer, 2004, 1).

Typically, picture books that discuss math concepts are only used in the primary levels of school. However, there are a great many picture books that can get even high school students excited about math (Spicer, 2004, 1). For example, elementary school students will gain a firm grasp on geometric concepts when reading Sir Cumference and the First Round Table. The book details the efforts of Sir Cumference and his son Radius, in showing the knights how they can all sit peacefully at a square table (Spicer, 2004, 1).

High school students would enjoy the silliness of this book as well as reviewing basic geometry concepts (Spicer, 2004,1). Similarly, there are many picture books that can be applied to high school life. One good example is The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics. This book is about a love triangle. The straight line is in love with the dot that is in love with the squiggle. By the end of the story, high school students will learn that when a line bends a little, a vector is created (Spicer, 2004, 1).

Students of all ages love picture books (Spicer, 2004, 1). There are many fun and easy ways to incorporate picture books into secondary math lessons (Spicer, 2004, 1). Students can choose a book from a list provided by the teacher and write a report about the math concepts included in the story (Spicer, 2004, 1). They can also write mathematical sequels or prequels to books that are read aloud in class (Spicer, 2004, 1). Utilizing picture books as part of math lessons will ensure that weeks later secondary students recall both the story and the lesson (Spicer, 2004, 1).

Another way that picture books are useful in the secondary classroom is in assisting struggling readers (McEwan, 2007, 1). Generally, high school students read very long and complex textbooks (McEwan, 2007, 1). The problem lies in the fact that struggling readers cannot use these textbook to learn because they are not fluent enough readers (McEwan, 2007, 1). Therefore, picture books can help struggling readers become better readers at the same time that they are learning the same concepts as the other students (McEwan, 2007, 1).

In addition, background knowledge is important when teaching nonfiction concepts to secondary school students (McEwan, 2007, 1). Easy nonfiction books should be collected and provided to students who need alternative resources when textbooks are too challenging for them (McEwan, 2007, 1). Further, when students gain the necessary background knowledge and learn key concepts through reading easy nonfiction picture books, they are able to gain the confidence to try the more challenging textbook material (McEwan, 2007, 1).

In order to assist struggling readers, a comprehensive list of nonfiction picture books aimed at math, science and other subjects should be compiled and made available to teachers and students (McEwan, 2007, 1). Writing is another subject area where picture books provide an enormous benefit to secondary students (Culham, 2000, 1). Picture books are a readily available but untapped resource that many secondary teachers are just beginning to discover (Culham, 2000, 1). Picture books can be highly visual and motivating in teaching students to become better writers (Culham, 2000, 1).

Picture books can be used as models to help writing students organize their thoughts in meaningful ways, to explore new topics and share different viewpoints about various topics (Culham, 2000, 1). Using picture books can show students how other authors use word choice, and editing to create a polished piece of written work (Culham, 2000, 1). In addition, picture books can enable students to use a small amount of text to find a large amount of meaning (Culham, 2000, 1). There are a wide variety of topics available in using picture books and these topics can inspire creativity in writing students (Culham, 2000, 1).

Picture books explore current and relevant topics that can further enhance writing ideas (Culham, 2000, 1). Finally, picture books can often inspire fresh creativity about old ideas that can lead to better writing (Culham, 2000, 1). Social studies is another area where picture books can be easily incorporated into lesson plans (Young, 1997, 1). The study of people places and cultures are natural compliments to picture books (Young, 1997, 1). The true life events of the past and present can be portrayed through the eyes of the characters and current events can be explored (Young, 1997, 1).

Events such as World War II, the Vietnam War and Paul Reveres ride teach about these historical events in easy to follow formats (Young, 1997, 1). In addition, current events such as homelessness can be described through short picture books that incorporate pictures and text to convey the seriousness of such issues (Young, 1997, 1). Science can very easily incorporate picture books (Young, 1997, 1). An obvious example would be the Magic School Bus series that explores various science concepts through and elementary classroom and its use of the magic school bus to take field trips (Young, 1997, 1).

These books explore science concepts that are easy for elementary school students to understand but are also relevant to secondary school students as they provide good introductions into science concepts that can then be built upon (Young, 1997, 1). These books provide a way to explore science through the eyes of children and include a great many side notes and text that describe such concepts as the solar system, the human body, the earth and the water cycle (Young, 1997, 1). Finally, picture books can be successfully incorporated into vocabulary lessons (Bartell, 2005, 57).

In fact, picture books can be used as an alternative to traditional vocabulary instruction (Bartell, 2005, 57). Traditional vocabulary instruction often makes students copy words and their definitions into notebooks but picture books allow students to as models to create their own picture books. The use of alphabet books gives students the creative ideas necessary to write their own text and therefore increase vocabulary as they write (Bartell, 2005, 57). The nature of picture books allow for high levels of vocabulary and the illustrations provide further avenues for students to make connections between pictures and words (Bartell, 2005, 57).

Picture books in the hands of skilled language arts teachers can create lessons of extraordinary educational value (Young, 1997, 1). The content of the picture books are important in increasing secondary students reading and writing abilities but their value goes far beyond this content (Young, 1997, 1). The pictures used in childrens literature can also help students build awareness of language as well as explore illustrations as a way to communicate meaning in a non intimidating way (Young, 1997, 1). Therefore, teachers need to be cautious when choosing picture books to incorporate into lesson plans.

They must choose picture books based on the quality of the art and the quality of the text (Young, 1997, 1). The pictures and the text need to work together to provide a comprehensive book that will be easily incorporated into the lesson plan (Young, 1997, 1). In order to successfully picture books into secondary classrooms, some important changes need to be made (Young, 1997, 1). The first is the attitude that picture books are childrens literature. Instead, picture books should simply be viewed as literature (Young, 1997, 1).

Once this attitude is changed then educators can start seeing the curriculum opportunities that picture books offer (Young, 1997, 1). Picture books entertain students and provide information about a wide variety of topics that can then lead to a greater understanding of the world (Young, 1997, 1). Picture books are another tool that literacy teachers should know about, have access to and incorporate into their lesson plans (Young, 1997, 1). Teachers have been reading aloud to elementary school students for centuries (Guignon, 2001, 1).

Research has shown the value of reading out loud to emerging readers (Guignon, 2001, 1). However, once a child learns to read on his or her own, being read to out loud often decreases or stops altogether (Guignon, 2001, 1). Reading aloud to students of any age helps them improve the important literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening (Guignon, 2001, 1). Students listen to stories read out loud on a higher level then they read on their own and so hearing stories read out loud stimulates their understanding of vocabulary and language patterns (Guignon, 2001, 1).

There are some important guidelines for teachers when reading out loud to secondary students (Guignon, 2001, 1). The first is that the teacher and students must make time to discuss the story in order to expand student understanding of the topic the story covers (Guignon, 2001, 1). Second, the illustrations should be used to encourage prediction and interpretation. Using the illustrations can add to the students understanding of the events in the story (Guignon, 2001, 1). Third, read out loud gives students the opportunity to learn more about different authors and illustrators.

It also allows them to look forward to reading other books by favorite authors (Guignon, 2001, 1). Fourth, hearing picture books read out loud gives students the chance to relate the stories to their own experiences (Guignon, 2001, 1). Finally, reading out loud brings in more curriculum related topics that are of special interest to the class (Guignon, 2001, 1). Teachers are often wary of presenting controversial and private topics into their curriculum and instruction (Bartell, 2005, 57). Picture books provide an outlet for these issues by presenting the material in non threatening way (Bartell, 2005, 57).

Secondary students are often facing many stressors as they are not quite grown yet but are no longer children. Their bodies are changing as are the nature of their social situations (Bartell, 2005, 57). Picture books provide a way for students to explore the issues that present themselves at this point in life by exposing them to characters going through similar experiences (Bartell, 2005, 57). Picture books are short and get right to the point so they provide an easy way to show secondary students how to deal with situations that they are experiencing (Bartell, 2005, 57).

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