Thursday, April 2, 2009

growing back into picture books

I can't tell you how excited I am to be back in the picture book section of the library again! I LOVE the picture book section. I thought we had left it behind... Alex was now into chapter books and Clara had her readers.... our read alouds were chapter books now too.... we had no use for picture books.... or so I thought! Then I started reading more and more about the benefits of using "living books" in homeschooling and things started to change.

A few months back I blogged about how I was compiling a reading list for Clara each week and in those lists were several picture books. Well.... that idea snowballed. Not only did Clara read all of the books but so did Alex. So now I no longer make a reading list for Clara. I pick a topic (based on Story of the World, a science interest, season, holiday, upcoming trips... whatever) and collect a stack of picture books from the library on that particular subject.

The kids LOVE this! The main reason I no longer make a reading list for Clara is that she will select a stack of books from our library basket to read in bed each night completely on her own.... Alex does the same. Alex will still read his chapter books at bedtime, but will have a little picture book "appetizer" before diving into his main course :-)

Here's a partial stack of what we checked out this week...
Given that it's spring now... we have quite a few books on flowers and seeds.

Looks like your typical picture book, right? Well... take a look inside...
There is all kinds of great information inside this colorful little book from the "kiddie" section! Parts of a flower... life cycle of a butterfly.... stages of germination... types of clouds... and so much more all along with the story of a girl and her garden. And to think I thought I had no use for picture books anymore!

Flip, Float, Fly!: Seeds on the Move

A beautifully illustrated book with simple text about the different methods of seed dispersal...

(please forgive the slightly out of focus photo above)

I thought the illustrations in this book were gorgeous....

It includes lots of great information as well.... my problem with it?

A lot of the text is in cursive...
Which poses a problem.... mainly for Clara.

Our next topic in Story of the World is Ancient India. So I visited the folktale section as well and picked up several retellings of Indian folktales...

I have no requirements in regards to the picture books. They're free to read them or not read them whenever they want. They don't think of them as "school" at all. I also have to try to not think of them as "school" too much or I tend to get upset when they don't choose to read a certain book (if it's a book I feel strongly about, I will commit to reading it during school time). However, they usually work their way through about 80% of what we bring home. They do oral narrations of most books without knowing it. Usually from me saying "oooh... that looks like a cool book... what's it about?". :-)

Another reason I love the picture book section... it's been a great way to get Clara to read more challenging text without forcing longer chapter books on her. She's ready for harder text... but she's not ready for a longer story that will take her several days to read. These books have more difficult words in them, but also have good picture clues and good definition clues in the text since they're written for a younger audience.

Anyway.... sorry about the long rambling post... I'm just had to share my excitement! :-)


Jocelyne Hayes said...

I have been doing this and we have both loved it! Picture books are the best :)

On another note, I am curious how you guys are enjoying Story of the World. Parker is very interested in learning abount Ancient Egypt so I was considering purchasing volume 1. Do you have the activity book? That is something I am most curious. Parker loves projects and I want to make sure and find some good resources.

Alycia in Va. said...

we are doing lots of picture books again too. Alex still has a chapter book going (magic tree house series now) but I find that she will sit and read 8-10 picture books in one swamp, but may only read 3-4 pages of the chapter book (I think because there aren't many visuals)
I look forward to see what you guys are reading.