As I have shared before... teaching writing is what I feel is my teacher weakness. So I've been doing everything possible to improve that. My current favorite resource book is "In Pictures and In Words" by Katie Woods Ray. This book really got me excited about teaching writing through illustration instruction. That is, the illustration is just as important as the words themselves. I can't say enough about switching from a focus on words to a focus on both words and pictures!! At first, I wondered about what would happen if we spent time discussing illustrations first and then focus on words. Ray says that it's hard for us adults to remember just how hard it is for five year olds to sound out and write words while trying to remember what they want to say. So that the ability to draw a detailed illustration gives them a strong foundation to build from. Ray also says that many of the same processes we use to write are the same in draw an illustration. WOW!! So with this new understanding in hand, I spent much of the spring talking about illustrations and what they have to offer us. We started with the book Tuesday by David Wiesner.
Here is what I love about this book... the illustrations are AMAZING!
Take a look at four of my students work from the beginning of the year and at the end of the year.
Student 1 is an average student in my room. She entered the year not being able to write her name. As her beginning of the year sample shows, she was in scribble stage of writing.
Now here is the part that gets me really excited... my student population might change year to year, but the level at which my students enter school will not. By starting with illustrations, the children are able to communicate and make their own stories!