Improve Reading with “Picture Walks”

Many children need some help over the summer to improve their reading abilities or to keep them from slipping (the summer slide).  You can help your children improve reading with “Picture Walks”.

A “picture walk” is a pre-reading strategy that is great for children of all ages. Children preview the book they are about to read from cover to cover asking the 5 w’s (who, what where, when, and why), plus h (how). Children should look at the various pictures and other visual clues that they may notice that will give them hints about what the book is about. Older children can adapt this strategy and call it a “book walk” where they not only look at the pictures in the story, but also look for author information, bolded terms, and captions throughout the novel before reading.

This pre-reading strategy will help children of all ages to build interest in reading, and build prediction and comprehension skills. In addition, children will be able to utilize their background knowledge, make connections, and scaffold vocabulary. If reading the story together, you can ask questions along the way to see if your predictions were correct. After modeling this, older children will begin to utilize these strategies on their own and gain the same benefits with comprehension, vocabulary, and prediction.

Any picture books, early reader books, or popular novels are great for doing picture walks at home. A few of my favorite books to use for picture walks include: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Knuffle Bunny, #1) by Mo Willems, Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, and any of the non-fiction choices from National Geographic Kids. What are your favorite books for picture walks?

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