Using Favorite Picture Books to Motivate
and Engage Young English Learners
Presentation by:
Mark Granic
Education Manager, Scholastic Asia
Learning with Picture Books:
Picture books have emerged as more than
read-aloud books for young children. They
are wonderful resources
to increase children’s listening and
speaking skills as well as mastering key
vocabulary in context.
During this presentation, we will be viewing
numerous picture books to discover their
special features.
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Supportive Features
• Introduce beginning reading skills:
– Reading left to right, capitalization, punctuation,
• Simple and easy to understand vocabulary for
young learners
• Simple and easy to understand concepts for
young learners
• Many picture books have rhyming or repetitive
patterns that can be used to support oral
language development
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture Books are Focused
• Simple plots, easy to relate to characters, few
• Some novice readers are put off by multiple
plots, or lose focus of a book if it is overly long
and wordy.
• Picture books cut to the chase.
• Help teachers spotlight or highlight a particular
reading or thinking skill
• This focus saves you time in the EFL Classroom
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture Books can be used as an anchor to
learning new concepts and topics
• Anchors help build background knowledge and
help teachers assess what students may or may
not know about a topic or theme
• Also can assess how much language acquisition
students have or may not have (EFL Classroom)
• “How are you Peeling” by Saxton Freymann:
How many adjectives or feeling words do
students know and can express
• Use picture books as a foundation building tool
in support of your content area learning (Science
– life cycles of fruit)
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture books can be used to develop social-emotional
- Students who have more control over their emotions and
are more socially responsible, do better academically
- Children develop emotionally by becoming more aware
of their own feelings and needs
- Children develop socially by becoming more aware of
the emotions in others.
- Picture books with a social-emotional focus provide an
anchor point for discussion that help children connect
with their own and others’ feelings
- “Yo! Yes?” by Chris Raschka and
“David” Series by David Shannon
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Illustrations aid with Comprehension
• The illustrations offer context clues for
developing or struggling readers
• help support the text which helps students
understanding and comprehend the
written language quicker and more
• Illustrations act as a picture dictionary for
EFL Students
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture Books help improve basic reading
• Can aid students in:
– Acquiring new vocabulary
– practicing phonemic awareness and phonics
– increasing fluency by reading the story again
and again
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture Books Build Reading
• Since fiction picture books successfully
employ story elements (plot, character,
setting, conflict), a steady diet of picture
books will increase a child's reading
comprehension, no matter what their
present stage.
• And as a result….
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture Books can be used to teach and practice
the various Comprehension skills needed to
become active readers…
• Compare and contrast
• Topic, Main Ideas, Details, Summary
• Making Generalizations
• Inferences
• Categorization
• Sequencing
• Predicting
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture Books are Diverse
• can be used to teach a variety of themes,
subjects, topics, generes…
• School, Family, Fairytales, Occupations,
Transportation, Animals, Insects, Science,
Math, Geography, History (all in English)
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Pictures Books are a spring board to good
• Simple vocabulary
• Simple grammar and sentence patterns
• Can be used as models for their own
• Picture books inspire students and
activate their creativity
Why Teach with Picture Books
• Picture Books are Fun!
• Can't We Just Enjoy Books for What They
• Along with all that stuff above, which is
absolutely, educationally sound, we should
always remember the most important
reason for choosing to use picture books:
they are fun! Fun to read, fun to share!
How to Select Picture Books
• Selecting the right picture for your class can be
really difficult
• Share Books between Grades (Hong Kong
• Choose books to supplement your current Units
• Discuss with all teachers (even non-English
– Guided Reading Level
– Lexile Level
– Interest Level
How to Select Picture Books
• Choose Picture Books:
– related to your Theme or Topic
– To support your content area classes
• Math, Science, Geography, Social Studies
– With supportive pictures and illustrations
– That link themes with character education and
social-emotional focus
Your Lesson Plan
Before reading
Pre-read and find new vocabulary words
Teach Vocabulary words
Before Reading
Activate Prior Knowledge
Introduce and talk about the cover
Make predictions (orally or written, individual or group)
(revisit after reading)
During Reading
First Reading
Read first time with class
Talk about every page, ask leading questions
During Reading
Second Reading
Ask students to participate
Choral Reading and Echo Reading etc…
Comprehension Skills Focus and Check Comprehension
After Reading
Review and Feedback
Review the Book
Get feedback from Students – use feedback to help make
future selections
Class (Group) or Individual Activities - EXTENSIONS
• Carefully thought-out extension activities
are what make or break your ESL
• Make them fun, interesting, creative,
supportive, and manageable for students.
• Gives reading a purpose and strengthens
the skills learned from the story
Early Concept Skills
Research says…
• Learning basic concepts such as colors, shapes,
and size is essential to early reading and math
• Being able to notice the specific attributes of two
objects, which determine if they are similar or
different (such as shapes) is necessary to
noticing the difference in letter and number
formation and sharpening one’s visual-spatial
and descriptive skills.
Research says…
• Working with color and shape words is
also critical for our ELL since many of the
classroom directions involve these words.
• “Place your pencil on the red circle”;
• “Line up behind the yellow line”;
• “Put your finger on the blue star at the top
of the page”.
Develop Fine-Motor Skills
• Ask children to trace each solid shape
several times onto a large sheet of
newsprint. Then have them practice
drawing the same shape freehand.
• This is great practice for Chinese kids to
learn how to draw the straight and round
lines needed to write English letters
Language Development
• Distribute the shapes stencils to children.
• Ask one child at a time to read the shape
name on his or her stencil and then look
around the room to find an item that
matches the shape. Ask other students to
do the same.
• Make sentences.
• “This is a Rectangle” and “The door is a
rectangle”. (add color words).
Background Knowledge
• Determine students’ background
information about numbers. Guiding
• How high can you count?
• What is the biggest number that you know
• Show me numbers on a number line.
Extension Activities
• Depending on the age of the children and
their knowledge of numbers, start to
introduce numbers above ten.
• Make collections of objects for the
numbers 10-100 to show students the
quantities that the numbers
• represent. Try to choose similar- sized
objects so that students can make a visual
Number Games
• Play "Ding or Dong": Students stand in a circle. The
teacher reads a simple math problem to the first student.
• The student must answer within 10 seconds. If the
student is correct, all the students yell "DING!"
• If the student is incorrect, the other students yell
• If the student is correct he/ she stays standing, if the
student is wrong, he/ she sits down. The teacher goes
around the circle, reading problems to each student, until
only one or a few students are left standing.
• Alternatively, the students can go around the circle
practicing counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s. If a
student misses a number, he/ she sits down. Students
challenge each other to see how high they can get.
Extension Activity
Discuss the importance of numbers with the children.
Tell them that numbers are everywhere.
Go on a school Number Hunt.
Create a list of things within the school for children to
count. Suggestions are: teachers, students, water
fountains, doors, fire alarms, book shelves, desks,
chairs, windows, etc.
• Construct a poster with the students entitled, "How Many
In Our School?"
• Write the numbers for each thing counted and have
students illustrate the poster.
• Display the poster in the hallway.
Vocabulary Development
Introduce students to language such as;
More than, less than, much, many
“Eight is more than Six.”
“Three is less than seven.”
“There are less dogs than cats at the
• “Don’t use too much salt.”
• “There are many people at the zoo”.
Phonics and Rhyming Text
Phonemic Awareness
Phonics + Word Families
Predictive Text
Rhyming Text
Colorful pictures
Motivating questions to
keep students turning
each page
• Content Area Studies:
Language Arts and
Other Objectives:
• Students will research the names of baby
• Students will classify animals.
• Students will research the names of
animal groups.
• Students will create an original story that
blends elements of fiction and nonfiction.
Before Reading Activities
• Introduce students to the vocabulary. You can write
vocabulary words on index cards and place them around
the room, or pair words with pictures. If you have ESL
students, make sure that you introduce the vocabulary
words to them a few days before the lesson.
behave: how something acts
cave: a dark and damp opening in the side of a hill or mountain
feet: plural of foot; the part of the body that has toes
graze: to eat grass throughout the day
legs: the parts of the body that help you walk
neck: the part of the body between the head and chest
pocket: an opening on the body of a kangaroo where the joey stays
whiskers: bristly hair on the face just beneath the nose
Activate Prior Knowledge Before
you begin to read
• Find out what students know about babies
• Have students recall this knowledge or to
learn important features before they start
reading the book.
• Create a word web with the word "baby"
as your anchor. Have students brainstorm
a list of ideas related to infancy.
Ask Students why they choose these words to describe
babies…Finding out WHY will help you assess their
knowledge of the topic
cry cute
Phonics Lesson
• What do Dave, gave,
cave, behave all have
in common?
• VCVe (Silent e) –
Phonics Ladders
Phonemic Segmenting, Blending
and Manipulation
• What’s the first sound you hear in Fred?
• Change the “f” to “s” and what do you get?
• What’s the first sound you hear in “on”?
• Now add “sw”. What do you get?
Extending the Vocabulary Lesson
• Explain to students that baby animals are
usually called something different from the
adult animals of the same species. Assign
small groups of students a few animals
from the book and ask them to research
what the baby animals of these species
are called.
• Dog  puppy
• Cat  Kitten
Animal Babies
Cygnet (sig-nit)
Cria (cree – ah)
Have students create and label illustrations of the adult and baby animals.
Animal Classifications
Vocabulary Development
• Explain to students that a group of the
same type of animal also has a special
name. Provide a few examples:
• a school of fish; a pod of whales; a colony
of bats.
• Students should create illustrations of the
animals and label them
Rookery (rook-uh-ree)
Extension Activity
• Explain to students that a baby human is called
an infant. Take a photo of each of your students
and place them on a large table. Then have
students bring in a baby picture of themselves.
See if students can match the baby photo to the
current photo.
Extension Activity - Writing
• In small groups have students write an original
story entitled Is Your Papa a Panda?
• In this story a panda cub should approach the
babies of the different animals not mentioned in
the book and pose the question: "Is your papa a
• The baby animals should respond by saying no
and giving a few details of the characteristics of
what their papa looks like and how he behaves.
• Books should be illustrated.
• Have each group read their story to the class
High Frequency Words
• Friendship
• Shows how easy it is
to make friends
• Simple language
• Slang
• Focus on High
Frequency Words
• Total of 13 new words
12 New High Frequency Words
• Role Play the Story in Partners
• Write a journal about how you met a new friend
(In their own VOICE)
• Write a character map using adjectives to
describe your new friend
• Comprehension – Making Generalizations and
• Why do you think the boy had no friends?
• Have you ever made friends with someone you
didn’t know?
• Do you think the first boy is friendly? Why?
Big nose
Black Hair
Writing Traits
• Learn different parts
of speech
• Adjectives
• Verbs
• Review Basic
Concepts (Colors)
• Art
• Writing with a VOICE
Extension Activity
• Ask students to
make a collage of
different moods
and emotions.
• Present to the
class and see if
other students
can guess your
Teaching Writing with the 6 Traits
The main idea or topic sentence
Organization How is the writing organized to
keep with the main idea
Word Choice What words did you choose to
compliment your main idea
Teaching Writing with the 6 Traits
Gives individuality to the writing.
Sets the tone to the writing in
support of the main idea
How do your sentences flow?
Conventions How do you present your
Presentation Written, typed, as a book, article
etc..Polish up your work.
Key Qualities of the Voice Trait
• The tone fits the purpose and the
• The writer makes a powerful connection
with the reader.
• The writing is expressive.
• The writing takes risks; it tries something
new or different.
• The piece shows an excitement and
energy about the topic.
The bully ran over to little
Johnny and with an angry
face and a loud yell
demanded little John to
give him his lunch money.
But little Johnny wasn’t
scared. He stood firm with
both feet flat on the ground.
He turned to the bully,
looked him straight in the
eye and said “NO!”.
Voice Trait
• You wouldn’t use the same voice in a letter
thanking your grandmother for a birthday gift
that you would in a letter to a toy company
because your toy broke.
• Understanding which voice to use, and when, is
an important part of understanding the power
this trait brings to your writing.
• If you want your readers to have an emotional
response to your writing you have to write with a
clear voice.
Pre-Reading Activity
• Ask students to cut out faces from
magazines with nameable expressions
such as happy, sad, worried, joyful, lonely
and so on.
• Make a collage.
• Present and list all the emotion words they
• Extra…have them find and cut out letters
to spell out the emotions.
Pre-Reading Activity
• Understanding emotions and knowing
emotion words is key to using the voice
• You have to understand your emotions,
the character emotions and the readers
emotions – what reaction do you want the
reader to have?
Reading the Picture Book for the
Voice Trait
• Read How you are Peeling? Foods with
Moods to your students
• Make sure everyone can see the pictures
as they are the best part of this book.
• Ask kids what they thought of the
photographs – Discuss this.
• Examine a few pages and discuss.
Re-read and have students make
the faces.
Think about it…
• What did you do in order to make those
• Did you roll your eyes?
• Did you scrunch up your shoulders
• It’s this kind of telling details that help
writers convey emotions and add voice to
their writing.
Expressive Words
• Pick tow words form this list that you and your
partner will act out. Try to pick words that are
not a like.
David Goes to School
Character Education
• Vocabulary Dictionary
• Word Walls
• Vocabulary Games
- Taboo,
• 1. Put students in teams of 2
– Allow students to pick teams
– Pair weaker with stronger students
• 2. Give students vocabulary word cards
• 3. Student 1 gives definition to student 2
• 4. Student 2 gives word
– (for more challenge uses it in a sentence)
Benefits of the Game
• As each team comes up to the front of the
class they help the rest of the students
• Students love this game and are eager to
• Stronger students help weaker students
• Do you want to try?????
• Use to make age appropriate story
• Save on valuable prep-time
• Teach academic vocabulary to support
lesson or picture book
Extension Activities
• A Character analysis of David
– Use different adjectives to describe David
• Write a summary about the Food Fight in the
– Comic strip or Journal entry
• Compare and Contrast David and Yourself
• Discussion:
– Is David naughty? How do you know? What makes
someone naughty? What will happen if you are
naught in class? Would you be friends with David?
Why or why not? How can we help David improve?
• Class Assignment : Classroom Rules
Picture Books vs Textbooks
more vocabulary
more sentence patterns
picture support
bridge to more content areas
bridge to other themes – dive deeper
more group discussions
better assess students abilities
improves reading, phonics skills
improves comprehension skills
grammar in context – less controlled and robotic
Read-A-Louds with Picture Books
Character Education
Social Development
Basic Commands
Full of wonderful
pictures and
• Remember to ask questions about every
page and give students a chance to ask
you a question if they want.
• Keep a poster paper of your discussions
and review the book often.
Extension for David Books
• Activities:
• Take a page and label it with Label
stickers to help build vocabulary
• You can pre-print the labels with phonics
• Students stick to the page
• Learn spelling and vocabulary at the same
• No Chinese Needed to explain anything
Extra Support for all our Titles
Picture Books are More Than just a Story!
They Help Kids Think, See, and Read!
Presentation by:
Mark Granic
Education Manager, Scholastic Asia

Learning with Lexile Picture Books: View, Voice and …