Monday, November 23, 2015

Reading Picture Books With Children

Reading Picture Books With Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See. Megan Dowd Lambert. 2015. Charlesbridge. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

In Reading Picture Books WITH Children, Megan Dowd Lambert introduces readers (presumably adult readers) to the whole book approach of reading picture books with children. The whole book approach pays attention to the whole book. Not just the text. Not even just the text and the illustrations. But to the whole book:
  • the size of the book--is it big, is it small; is it in landscape or portrait orientation; 
  • the design of the book--what font(s) are used, what size font(s) are used, how does the font appear on the page, etc; 
  • the appearance of the book jacket (front, back, spine); the appearance of the book cover underneath the book jacket; is it the same as the book jacket or different? what materials were used on the cover; how was it bound, etc.
  • the endpapers; are the endpapers the same in the back as they are in the front; what do they add to the story, etc.
  • the front matter; does the story begin before the 'first page' of the text; does it contribute anything to the story;
  • the arrangement of the text and illustrations; how much white space is used on a page, are the illustrations on a two-page spread connected or separate; are the illustrations small or big; are the illustrations framed; do they take up the whole page, etc. 
  • the text itself; what it says, the story, the characters, etc.)
  • the illustrations; the style, the technique, the details, the art and craft of it all, etc.
She encourages adults to focus on the whole book when reading with children. Asking children questions during the reading of the book itself. Letting them interrupt the reading of the story to talk about what they're seeing and hearing and asking their own questions. She says that it only seems like it would ruin the flow of a story. She argues that in fact, the more you pay attention to the whole book the more engaged readers become. So it enhances the reading of a book.

Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of a picture book. Each chapter includes multiple examples and shares practical advice. Readers see what types of questions Lambert has in mind. Questions like: "What's going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find?" She does include a chapter on sample questions. Here are just a few as an example:
  • How does the jacket seem like a poster for the book, pulling us in as readers? What grabs your attention here?
  • What information does the jacket give us about the story?
  • How does the way the words look tell us how to read the words aloud?
  • Does anyone else have a different idea about this picture?

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Alex 7:29 AM  

I've been wanting to read this book, too. My Kiddo took a children's lit class with Megan at Mount Holyoke and loved it (and her), so I know she really knows what she is talking about. Thanks for sharing this so I know was to expect.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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