The Mitten by Jan Brett

Recommended Grades: K-2

When Nicki drops his mitten in the snow and continues to play without realizing it.  One by one, woodland animals find the mitten and crawl in. 

Lesson Idea:


Comprehension Strategies:

Making Predictions: Written in her unique style, Jan Brett provides a book that not only tells a story through text, but also through the pictures.  Read aloud The Mitten and point out the pictures to students.  Ask students to use the pictures to make predictions about what they think will happen as you read.

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming

On this 4th of July, a special history/America inspired post:

Recommended Grades: 2-5

Imogene’s Last Stand is the story of Imogene Tripp, a young girl with a passion for history (she even recites famous quotes).  So when the mayor decides to tear down the Liddleville Historical Society to make way for a shoelace factory, Imogene must fight for the town’s past.  Is she able to save history? 


Lesson idea:

Making Predictions:  Prior to reading aloud the book, ask students to make predictions based on the title and the cover.  As you read aloud, stop and confirm predictions and make more.  Predict whether Imogene will be successful in her effort to stop the demolition of the Liddleville Historical Society.

Writers Workshop/Using Famous Quotes: The author used many famous quotes from historical figures and weaved them throughout the story.  After you read aloud, ask students to pull out the quotes to put on a quotation wall where you can continue to add quotes, both famous and not so famous.  As students work on writing pieces, encourage them to use the quote wall to inspire their writing. Perhaps they want to weave quotes into their own writing, or perhaps a quote is just the spark that inspires their next writing piece.  You could even pair this book with Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum as a model of weaving quotes into narrative or informational texts.

©2011 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Using Picture Books to Teach Comprehension Strategies by Joanne M. Zimny

June Theme: Professional Books Related to Picture Books

With summer beginning for some teachers, and just around the corner for others, I thought I would take this month to post professional books that may be of use when using picture books in the classroom.

Recommended Grades: 2-5  

Using Picture Books to Teach Comprehension Strategies: 30 Lessons That Teach Students the Six Comprehension Strategies They Need to Actively Engage With Text and Read for Meaning is a fantastic resource if you are looking for additional lessons to teach visualizing, questioning, making inferences, making predictions, determining importance or summarizing.  This book provides 30 lessons related to key comprehension strategies that students need to actively engage with text.  Lessons include books by Jane Yolen, E.B. Lewis, Eve Bunting, Chris Van Allsburg, Robert San Souci, Mem Fox, and Nikki Giovanni among others!

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

January Theme:  Patricia Polacco picture books

Patricia Polacco is another author whose books became touchstone texts in my classroom.  Her ability to write stories that children can relate to makes it easy to see why her books became model texts.

Comprehension Strategy: Making Predictions

An autobiographical story about a child who has difficulty learning to read.  It takes a special teacher to help her understand that she isn’t “dumb,” but instead has dyslexia. To learn more, read what Patricia Polacco has to say about the book.

Thank You, Mr. Falker is a fantastic model for a Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DR-TA).  It provides several opportunities for students to make predictions based on the pictures and the text.

Lesson idea: Prior to reading aloud the text, ask students to make a prediction about the book.  The picture and the title are a bit contradictory.  Chart student predictions and confirm or refine them as you read.  There are several more points in the text in which making predictions is appropriate.  Again, chart student predictions and confirm or refine them as you read.

What books do you use to teach making predictions?  Do you have any touchstone texts or touchstone authors in your classroom?

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

December Theme:  Nonfiction

A true story of Henry Brown, a run away slave on the Underground Railroad, who found an ingenious way to find freedom. . . he shipped himself in a box.

Henry’s Freedom Box (Caldecott Honor Book) is a wonderful book to use as part of a unit on The Underground Railroad. You can use this book to activate your students’ background knowledge about slavery and The Underground Railroad. It’s a fantastic read with an inspirational story.  I previously wrote a post about using this book to teach students about asking questions.  I would also use the book to teach a lesson on making predictions.     

Lesson Idea: Making Predictions

Before beginning a unit on The Underground Railroad, read aloud this book.  Prior to reading aloud the book or showing the book to the class, ask students if they can determine what a Freedom Box is.  Ask them to draw a Freedom Box.  What does it mean to them?  Next, ask students to make predictions based on the title and the cover picture.  After reading aloud the book, ask if any predictions were confirmed.  Were students able to determine what  Freedom Box was?  Use the book to begin a historical inquiry into the topic of The Underground Railroad.

©2009 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.