Teaching with Picturebooks


A picturebook is text, illustrations, total design; an item of manufacture and a commercial product; a social, cultural, historic document; and foremost, an experience for a [reader / beholder].  As an art form it hinges on the interdependence of pictures and words, on the simultaneous display of two facing pages, and on the drama of the turning page.


The are various types of picturebooks which are either of factual nature, often referred to as informational picturebooks, or of fictional nature:

Fictional picturebooks include traditional fairy tales, fables, and modern retellings. There are also picturebooks which focus on
dragons, monsters and fantasy, animals, insects and other creatures.


Once you have selected a picturebook, familiarize yourself with its covers, the endpapers, title page and other peritexual* parts, as well as the verbal and visual text.


The teacher plays a key role in mediating picturebooks by helping children to construct meaning, and to use English as much as possible to talk about what they see and what they understand, and to make links to their own lived experience.


One of the greatest challenges, is selecting the most suitable picturebook for a specific class.  Children may have limited English-language skills but possess ideas, concepts and aspirations relevant to their developmental age. Real success depends on have the right picturebook for the linguistic and cognitive ability and interests of the children in order to maximise their enjoyment, involvement and learning.


Teaching primary English with picturebooks: Effective use of picturebooks in an ELT setting is planned, prepared and structured. Picturebooks expose children to examples of rich, authentic language as the language has not been selected or graded.


We often discuss award-winning picturebooks. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest picturebooks, new comers and authors / illustrators who are making headway, check the following websites …

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