I have always been an advocate more picture books in the classroom. As a sixth grade teacher I relied on picture books as a cornerstone of my curriculum.
For example I’d use picture books, such as The Wretched Stone to explicitly teach and model new comprehension strategies. I would model and have students make inferences as we tried to unravel what happened to the crew.
I would also use picture books to build background knowledge for novels we read set in our turbulent past to allow students to build background knowledge, well more empathy than knowledge, on subjects such as genocide, racism, and slavery. In my sixth grade class we read Sounder every year. My students struggled with the tribulations of sharecropping and Jim Crow so I would use picture books about slavery, civil rights and Jim Crow. I would then create my own picture books using images of sharecroppers found online.
Picture Books on the iPad
I thought the iPad would be a perfect tool for sharing picture books. So when I was prepping my lesson on using picture books I hopped right on to the itunes store and into the children’s section.
I was dismayed.
Most of the titles I found in the store were garabage of the supermarket variety. Most of the titles were connected to children’s TV shows. None of the classic picture books have been made available or atleast were easy to find. I searched by titles and author.
I am sure this has to do with publishers, authors, and illustrators trying to figure out digital royalties, but it saddened me to know that for many of today’s readers the classics are not available.
Luckily I was able to purchase The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco. It is a story of a Jewish family that has passed down a keepsake for generations.
Using the iPad for picture books was a natural fit. I was able to zoom in on pictures when we wanted to analyze illustrations and zoom in on words as we read.
The story itself was fantastic for my pre-service teachers who really witnessed the power of using picture books to learn about other cultures compared to a text book.
I have a quick clip of some of the activities we completed as a class.