Do you have a plan for teaching reading strategies to your K-2 learners?
I’m talking reading strategies like these:
- making predictions
- making connections
- setting a purpose for reading
- activating prior knowledge
- asking questions
- determining importance
Yowza-that’s a lot you are probably thinking! How can I teach them ALL of those strategies at such a young age?! The point of teaching K-2 students about reading strategies is to equip them with strategies to help them understand the books they read tomorrow and the day after that. With consistent modeling and guided practice, our students will make these strategies their own. We can absolutely address teaching many of these reading strategies using picture books for this age of students. Is it shocking to you that students can learn advanced reading strategies through a basic picture book? They absolutely can, especially when you find the best of children’s literature!
Here are some picture books you can use to teach different reading strategies (affiliate links included):
Teaching Main Idea
Teaching and understanding the main ideas of the text is important. It gives the reader the ability to understand what the text is mostly about. Having books that help us teach this skill is important. Here are some great picture books for teaching this:
Leah’s Pony by: Elizabeth Friedrich
Leah’s pony was swift and strong. Together they would cross through cornfields and over pastures, chasing cattle as they galloped under summer skies. Then came the year the corn grew no taller than a man’s thumb. Locusts blackened the sky. The earth turned to dust. Gone were the cornfields and pastures where Leah and her pony once rode. It was the beginning of the great drought. Now Leah’s papa faced losing the family farm. Set in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, Elizabeth Friedrich’s deeply felt story, vividly portrayed through Michael Garland’s stunning oil paintings, tells of one child and what she would sacrifice for the love of her family.
The Important Book by: Margaret Wise Brown
What is the most important thing about a spoon? The fact that you can eat with it? What about an apple? Or a shoe? This book helps curious preschoolers notice important details about their everyday surroundings, like daisies are white, rain is wet, and a spoon is used for eating.
Teaching plot which is teaching students the ability to recognize important events, problems, conflict and resolution is essential to understanding the story. I have found these picture books to be wonderful in teaching plot:
Thank you Mr. Falker by: Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco is now one of America’s most loved children’s book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we.
The Patchwork Quilt by: Valerie Flournoy
Twenty years ago Valerie Flournoy and Jerry Pinkney created a warmhearted intergenerational story that became an award-winning perennial. Since then children from all sorts of family situations and configurations continue to be drawn to its portrait of those bonds that create the fabric of family life.
Teaching sequential order or order of important events is important as it allows students to understand when key events happen in a story. These books are easy for students to understand this concept.
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by: Judith Virost
Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair.
And it got worse…
His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!
The Napping House by: Audrey Wood
A cozy bed, a snoring granny, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing–WAIT! There’s a surprise in store, and little ones will want to discover it over and over again. So pull on your sleeping cap and snuggle in for a timeless cumulative tale that’s truly like no other. Don and Audrey Wood’s beloved picture book has sold more than one and a half million copies. To celebrate its birthday, the original hardcover book now has a fresh new design for both the jacket and interior, and the reproduction of the illustrations has been enhanced to better match the original artwork. Bonus downloadable audio begins with a reading of the story and follows with six original songs that are just as fun, jaunty, and sweet as the book itself. The music, originally produced in 1989, is based on the book and was written and performed by children’s musicians Carl and Jennifer Shaylen.
Stone Soup by: Marcia Brown
A clever young man tricks an old woman into believing that soup can be made from a stone. As the pot of water boils with the stone in it, he urges her to add more and more ingredients until the soup is a feast “fit for a king.”
Teaching Author’s Purpose
Students need to be able to recognize whether the author wrote the text to entertain, to inform, to explain or to persuade. At times the author may write the text for more than one purpose. These books help my students recognize this skill.
Two Bad Ants by: Chris Van Allsburg
The three-time Caldecott medalist tells the tale of two ants who decide to leave the safety of the others to venture into a danger-laden kitchen.
The Lorax by: Dr. Seuss
I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
Dr. Seuss’s beloved story teaches kids to treat the planet with kindness and stand up and speak up for others. Experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted in a story that is timely, playful, and hopeful. The book’s final pages teach us that just one small seed, or one small child, can make a difference.
Teaching Making Connections
Making connections is something that will go beyond the text itself. Students will recognize whether the text connects to them personally, connects to a world event, or to another text. These books are great for making connections for students.
My Rotten, Redheaded Older Brother by: Patricia Polacco
There’s nothing worse than a rotten redheaded older brother who can do everything you can do better! Patricia’s brother Richard could run the fastest, climb the highest, and spit the farthest and still smile his extra-rotten, greeny-toothed, weasel-eyed grin. But when little Patricia wishes on a shooting star that she could do something—anything—to show him up, she finds out just what wishes—and rotten redheaded older brothers—can really do.
Through Grandpa’s Eyes by: Patricia MacLachlan
John’s favorite house is his grandfather’s—not because it is fancy or new but because he sees it through his Grandpa’s eyes. Grandpa is blind, and so when John visits him he gets to see things from a new perspective. If he closes his eyes, everything comes alive through sound and touch. This house is the place where John gets to experience the special way Grandpa sees and moves in the world.
Enemy Pie by: Derek Munson
Teach kindness, courtesy, respect, and friendship: It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning a best enemy into a best friend.
If you are looking for some winter picture books and need some digital choice boards for teaching virtually, click here. Let me know how you’re bringing these reading strategies into your classroom!