Monday, 9 May 2016

Picture Books Aren't Just For Reading - Lynne Garner

I’ve been writing education based articles for professionals who work with young children for a number of years now. So when I was asked to write a few activity based features linked to picture books I jumped at the chance.   

First I needed to do a little research and find some books. Easy! I put a call out to my fellow picture book writers and as usual they came to my rescue. The three books I’ve based my features on so far are:   

Written by Pippa Goodhart and Illustrated by Sam Usher
Published by Egmont 

Written by Moira Butterfield and illlustrated by Michael Emmerson
Published by Ginger Fox 

Written by Jane Clarke and iIllustrated by Charles Fuge
Published by Nosy Crow

My next task was to read each of the books and come up with some activity ideas which would tie the story with at least one of the subject areas covered in schools. These areas are:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
  • Literacy (L)
  • Communication and Language (CL)
  • Mathematics (M)
  • Understanding the World (UW)
  • Physical Development (PD)
  • Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

I also teach in this sector (on a part-time basis) and we often call this type of linking different activities embedding, so it's something I'm used to doing. As I  read the books I could see there were lots opportunities for embedding. So here are just a few ideas I had:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
Encourage them to play group games linked to the book to support their understanding of respecting one anothers differences and the concept of sharing.

The very act of reading and sharing a book is supporting their literacy skills.

Communication and Language
As you read ask lots of open questions and you'll be expanding their vocabulary and improving their use of language.

As you read encourage them to count things and notice the use of numbers in the text to support their math skills.

Understanding the World
Once you've shared the book learning about the real life animals that appear in them provides them with the opportunity to gain understanding of the world around them and provides them with the opportunity to show care and concern for living things and the environment. 

Physical Development
Handling a book and turning pages will support their small motor skills.

Expressive Arts and Design
Encourage them enjoy a themed art and craft session will support this area and encourage them to explore using different mediums plus supporting their PD as they use small tools.

I'm now hoping you can see that every picture book opens up a wealth of learning opportunities and that picture books aren't just for reading.   



The features that used these books have or will appear in Practical Pre-school magazine which incorporates Child Care magazine. Both are a great source of information, creative ideas and resources for those who work in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  

Now for a blatant plug - don't say I didn't warn you:

My latest short story collection Coyote Tales Retold is available on Amazon in ebook format. Also available Meet The Tricksters a collection of 18 short stories featuring Anansi the Trickster Spider, Brer Rabbit and Coyote is available as a paper back and an ebook. 

I run the following online courses for Women On Writing:


Pippa Goodhart said...

Gosh, it's interesting to see exactly how a professional teacher would assess a book, and really useful to have your examples. Thank you, Lynne ... especially for using my Danny book!

Marcie Colleen said...

Great post! I create Teacher's Guides for picture books and agree, there is a wealth of learning opportunities to be had! You can check out my guides at

Moira Butterfield said...

Really helpful, Lynne, and perhaps also provides a few ideas to parents who have read the same book a zillion times and want to get something different from the experience.

Jane Clarke said...

Thanks Lynne, and thanks for using Who woke the Baby :-)