Friday, November 15, 2013

Making Connections

Some of the books students explored in the library during National Picture Book Month. 
October was Connected Educator month, and you might be thinking about that when I mention the word "connections," but I'm actually talking about a different kind of connection - the kind we want our students to make with books. 

If you are a teacher or librarian, you probably already know that November is National Picture Book Month. This month-long celebration of children's literature was founded by author Dianne de Las Casas (@AuthorDianneDLC). I appreciate de Las Casas' efforts to promote picture books because sometimes these books don't get the credit they deserve. They are often dismissed by parents and educators, who do mean well, as being "too easy" or "too short." In other words, they're not chapter books. Sadly this attitude means many students are discouraged from exploring the rich language and beautiful artwork found in picture books.  

As an older reader, I still enjoy picture books. I enjoy the artwork of the illustrator, and I'll often explain to students what method and medium the illustrator used to create the images in the book before reading it for them. I enjoy the language contained in the books. Many picture books have powerful messages, and it takes a special talent to communicate these messages within a few pages. 

I promoted picture books this month by using them in lessons for every grade level--from pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade. Together, the students and I used the books to help us make text-to-text, text-to-world, and text-to-self connections. During the lessons, I reminded students that all books have value, and we shouldn't label a book as "too easy" just because it doesn't have chapters. The books received a lot of applause from students after we finished our read alouds, which I consider to be the "seal of approval" for a book. If the students clap at the end of a reading, I know they were paying attention and appreciated the work of both the author and the illustrator as much as I did. 

For more information about Picture Book Month and wise words from people who express themselves much more eloquently about the topic than I can, please visit the Picture Book Month website created by author Dianne de La Casa. 

Happy reading! 

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