Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In Pictures and In Words: Ch.1-6 Reflections

Deedee at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten is hosting a fabulous book study on Katie Wood Ray's In Pictures and in Words.  It just started at the end of last week so it's not too late to join in with us.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first section of this book (ch. 1-6). Here are a few of my thoughts as I reflect back on what I've read:

Ch. 1: Why Illustration Study Matters to the Development of Young Writers
  • The act of making picture books can be considered as developmentally appropriate play!  
    • I love how the author brings in the NAEYC's statement about the importance of play in regards to promoting language, social, and cognitive development. (p.10)
  •  How many times have I asked a child to read me his sentence and he has no idea what it says?  Katie reminds us that detailed pictures serve as cues for written text. (p.13) 
  • Book making results in "a process of constant decision making." (p. 14) 
  • It is important to understand how "both writing and drawing are acts of meaning making- they are simply generated with different composition tools." (p. 15) 
  • Using pictures supports multiliteracy learning which is necessary for the 21st century. (p. 17) 
    • (I really loved how Katie related this to multimodal learning because that is exactly what my grad school classes have been focusing on for the last 2 semesters!)
Ch. 2: Building Stamina for Writing by Supporting Children's Work as Illustrators
  • Stamina.  There's that word again.  Do you remember reading about it in Daily 5 last week too?  Obviously building stamina is really important.
  • I absolutely loved reading about the cover page of Thomas' Bakugan book. (p. 31) It is so easy to get frustrated when a child takes for.e.ver on one the point where the rest of the class has moved on and little Johnny is still working on the first part.  Sound familiar?  
  •   Invite your students to "make" books rather than "write" books. (p. 33)
Ch. 3: Writing and Illustrating as Parallel Composing Processes
  • Teachers do not need to begin by teaching "the writing process" because "these aren't steps writers follow, they're just names for kinds of things (sometimes lots of kinds of things) that happen along the way when writers write." (p. 39)
    • Note to self- I will be re-doing my writing process bulletin board to reflect that a writer can bounce back and forth between the stages and does not have to follow the steps in order. 
  •  Make the process deeper by showing students new ways "they might decide to do things." (p. 42)
    • Offer new possibilities while still fostering the child's decision making process.
  • Color plays a huge role in the decision making process. Love the dress example! (p. 45)
Ch. 4: Teaching an Essential Habit of Mind
  • It is important to refer to an illustrator by name. (p. 63)
    • This brings attention to the decision-making process of the illustrator.
  • Find a picture of the author and illustrator to display during the study so that these people become more than just names.  Build a connection! (p. 65) 
  • Think aloud about the illustrations "to show children how everything they notice about illustrations can easily become something they might imagine doing themselves." (p. 65)
Ch. 5: Learning Qualities of Good Writing From Illustration Techniques
  • I love the idea of comparing the tone in illustration of different books.  Especially books by the same author like the ones Katie mentions in this chapter by Nicola Davies. (p. 67, 70)
  • Talk about your higher-order thinking skills!  What a great idea to play around with revising text to drive the point home about the tone in illustrations.  There's a great example of this using those same books by Nicola Davies on p. 71.
Ch. 6: The Writing Workshop
  • An illustration study is a must!  It "almost immediately raises the level of thinking and decision making children engage in as they make books." (p. 78)
  • Students must be "active cocreators" in a unit of study. (p. 79)
    • Gather a collection of books for an illustration study and let the students find examples of illustrating techniques to explore.
    • Chart your findings!
I can't wait to get into section 2 of Katie's book so I can really get a basis of different illustration techniques.  She has offered a lot of great examples of books to use in the first few chapters.  Here's one she talks about in which she focuses on the illustrator's choice of "zooming in" for close-ups. (p. 63)
Here's one that I think is a great example of telling a story primarily through pictures.
This book is the first one that came to mind (probably because it's a favorite of my 3 year old.)

I'm going to be on the lookout for more books to use for illustration studies.  Anyone already doing illustration studies in their class?  Any favorite books come to mind for showcasing illustration techniques?


  1. Hi- I just found your blog and I became a follower...The book you are reading for the book study looks very interesting. I am going to add it to my summer reading list. Is it an easy read or more textbook-ish? I would love to have you stop by my block and check it out...


  2. Welcome Patti! It is very interesting and really easy to read. She writes almost conversationally so it is easy to follow. She uses tons of concrete examples. I hope you'll join in. I've learned a lot so far. :)

  3. Thank you! Thank you! for joining in on the discussion. I have been pinning your book suggestions... love that tool!

    Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

    1. Boy...I hardly remember life before Pinterest. :)
      I'm excited to be tagging along with you Deedee!

  4. I know you probably already received these awards, but I wanted to let you know that I gave you the One Lovely Blog award AND the Versatile Blogger award!

    You can go claim them at Miss A's Kindergarten!


  5. I've nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award! Stop by my blog to pick it up!

    Mrs. Heeren's Happenings

  6. You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a wonderful book that doesn't have ANY words. It would be a great way to show how you can read the illustrations of a book--you know what is happening even though there are no words.


  7. Hi there. I just awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. Stop by my blog to see what you have to do to redeem :)

    Versatile Blogger Award Post


Thank you for your comment!