Monday, April 4, 2016

Using Picture Books In Middle School

My oldest son is in middle school and I have debated with myself if I should still be using pictures books with him or if I should push him on to use more age appropriate textbooks and adult-type books and references.

Yet I can not help but think how much I enjoyed the year my college professor brought in children's books and read two to three of them to us each class.  Though I was in college it was fun to be introduced to new children's books and authors.  We had lively discussions and I figure if it's good enough for college it's good enough for middle school!


I have found so many benefits of using picture books while homeschooling that I'm not about to stop unless my children ask me to!  


They keep the boys' interests!  The biggest reason I continue to picture books is that they hold the kids attention.  There are so many wonderfully written historical fiction and non- fiction books that are filled with eye catching pictures, illustrations, and tons of information that it would be silly not to use them simply because they are picture books.

They're still challenging!  Many picture books are written for adults to read aloud to children so they still contain large vocabulary words and can be challenging for students to read.  So, not only am I catching his interests, I'm helping to expand his vocabulary and encouraging him to develop better reading and decoding skills.

It's easier for me.  This may sound selfish, but I continue to use picture books to teach my middle school student because I can also include my younger children in what we're doing.  Since picture books speak to such a large audience it's something we can all enjoy and learn from together.  I love lessons that are broad and can meet each of my students at their level.

They are a great way to teach critical thinking and higher level skills.  Picture books often appear simple at first glance but many have underlying stories and concepts that are great for teaching difficult concepts in a way that is less intimidating, boring, or seemingly irrelevant to student.

They are not as intimidating.  Though my son is in middle school he still is not a confident reader and often finds books with lots of words and few to little pictures intimidating.  While he may balk at me assigning him work in a textbook or a novel he has no problem happily going off and reading an assigned picture book or two.

I don't have to worry about inappropriate content.  I don't always have time to pre-read all the books that my children read and with my oldest started to read young adult novels I often wish I did have the time to read everything.  We have found many books are written with more mature themes that he's just not ready to deal with yet.  With picture books I don't have to worry about them coming across content that that upsets them, makes them uncomfortable, or goes against our family values.

They help bring us together.  I find that picture books allow the boys and I to bond and bring us together in ways that other books do not. We enjoy reading together and sharing wonderful stories together.  Discussions continue long after the book has ended and create a lasting memory.


Do you still use picture books with your older students?

Linking Up With:  Literacy Musing Mondays, A Pinch of Joy,

Our Home of Many Blessings




My Full Heart: Junior High Junction

Mommy A to Z Manic Mondays Blog Hop

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

16 comments :

  1. Stopping by from the blog hop to say hello and reaffirm what you already know_ Picture Books are good for any age! My fifth grade daughter loves biographies much more when they are in PB form!

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    1. Yes! I find bioraphies are done very well in picture book form!

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  2. I love your article! When I was a Page (shelved books) at a library, my coworkers and I decided that non-fiction picture books were the way to go to find info on any subject. They had just enough information, lots of good pictures, and no needlessly complicated text. I still encourage my middle school daughter to start with picture books when researching a topic. If/when she's ready to dig into more info, we get more specific with articles from our library's databases usually. Does your library have the eLibrary database? It's one of my favs. I like that you can filter by reading level. Aaand... Did you know that students typically read non-fiction at two years lower than their grade? Yup. Again.. excellent article. This is great advice. -Sarah from tenbooksamonth.com

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  3. I love your article! When I was a Page (shelved books) at a library, my coworkers and I decided that non-fiction picture books were the way to go to find info on any subject. They had just enough information, lots of good pictures, and no needlessly complicated text. I still encourage my middle school daughter to start with picture books when researching a topic. If/when she's ready to dig into more info, we get more specific with articles from our library's databases usually. Does your library have the eLibrary database? It's one of my favs. I like that you can filter by reading level. Aaand... Did you know that students typically read non-fiction at two years lower than their grade? Yup. Again.. excellent article. This is great advice. -Sarah from tenbooksamonth.com

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    1. I did not realize that kids read non- fiction below their own grade level. My other two sons prefer non- fiction and gobble them up! Thank you for stopping by; I'm so glad you enjoyed my article.

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  4. We love picture books, too! Great post. Thank you for linking up with me every week at Junior High Junction. Some weeks, you are my only link-up! I appreciate the effort you put into your posts, and I always enjoy reading them. Thanks, again! {And I'm sorry I was late posting it today! It's up now.}

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    1. Thank you! That's so nice to hear. I'll go link up now. I had been popping in to check on your blog off and on today but then we got pretty busy; hey life happens right?!

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  5. I completely agree. In fact, my high school age son is reading one right now about WW2. He's much more likely to retain what he reads in this than some dry textbook.

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    1. I didn't even think to mention retention but yes I have noticed my boys are much more likely to remember a story that they enjoyed and loved. Which book is he reading? We just finished a unit on World War 2 and we found so many great picture books!

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  6. I completely agree. In fact, my high school age son is reading one right now about WW2. He's much more likely to retain what he reads in this than some dry textbook.

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  7. Found you on Junior High Junction. Love the idea of using picture books for middle (or high) school!

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    1. Oh I'm pretty sure we'll still be using them in high school too. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  8. This is a great article! It's helped me with my planning for the next homeschool year. I'm so glad I came across this. :)

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