Picture books as pre-writing activities
Did you know that you can help prepare your child to write by reading a picture book together? A good picture book exposes children of all ages to quality literature, enhancing learning and teaching them a great deal about writing.
- How words hook the reader at the beginning of the story.
- How words form sentences and paragraphs and, finally, an organized story with a beginning, middle, and end.
- How precise word choices show actions, descriptions, and feelings.
A Springboard to Writing
Before beginning to work on a new writing project or lesson, read a related picture book aloud to your child. Be sure you read during this time, not your child. She can practice reading skills another time.
Talk about the book with your child. Here are some ideas.
- What words or sentences grabbed you at the beginning and made you want to hear or read more?
- What happened at the beginning of the book? The middle?
- How did the story end?
- What are some of your favorite words?
- How did the story make you feel?
Choosing Picture Books
We know you will want to take care in choosing just the right picture book for each lesson. There are so many wonderful read-alouds with delightful story lines and engaging illustrations. Start with your own bookshelf!
You can also scour used book stores, yard sales, online stores like Amazon, and the library in your search for the “perfect” book. For guidance, ask your local children’s librarian, read book reviews online, or seek out the recommendation of friends. Keep in mind that others’ recommendations may not always match your family’s criteria for acceptable reading. So the final decision, of course, is yours.
Though your child may love superheroes, Disney princesses, or other cartoon characters, you’ll want to avoid these mass market-type picture books for pre-writing times. Instead, look for high-quality, timeless books that play with language and use unique artwork. You know which ones I mean—the books you don’t mind reading again and again because you love them too!
A few lists of top picks:
- Five in a Row’s Book Lists
- Classical Christian Education’s 1000 Good Books List (K-3)
- New York Public Library 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know
- Kids Online 100 Best Picture Books
If your child is older, and especially if she’s already reading, you may believe she is beyond picture books, but that’s not true! You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that many picture books are actually geared toward older children.
Begin your search here:
- Using Picture Books to Teach Writing to Middle Schoolers
- Picture books for older readers
- Cerritos Library picture books for older readers