Using Picture Books in Lit circles

One of my colleagues and I decided to use picture books as the genre for our first literature circle book for a year 7 English class.
We used picture books to encourage the students to look beyond what was written in their text. They were encouraged to think critically about all the graphic components and reflect on how they add to the text. The tasks were also developed to encourage the boys to develop their inference skills and respond to the works they were reading on a level that they had not been required to do with their earlier texts.

The boys were asked to choose one of 6 picture books.  Their choice was the basis for the formation of the group they would work with for three weeks. 
The boys read the picture books and were given a number of short tasks to complete; some on an individual basis but then sharing their thoughts/ideas with the rest of their group. All these short tasks were then used to create the basis of a glog for each group.

Today they put their ideas together and prepared to create their glog. The will include text, images and multimedia components. They have also been given a rubric to indicate how their glogs will be assessed. I have put the rubric and details into my Reading wiki.

The work that the groups have done so far has on the whole been excellent and I am hoping to have some great glogs that I can use in the library. I also used part of a lesson to explain the basics of Creative Commons to the class as they began a search for appropriate images and explained that sound and music is available under CC licenses too. The students took this information on baord and I was pleased to see that they were busy finding CC images for their glogs.

I have included a list of the short tasks that were undertaken by the students below.

  • Analysis of the cover: Comment on the picture on the cover – what it tells the reader about the book; the colours used; the style and colour of the lettering used; what questions the cover raises in the mind of the reader; what other information is given on the cover
  •  ‍Scanning skills: Spend 5 minutes browsing through the book and then spend 5 minutes writing what you think the book will be about based on what you see and read.
  •  ‍The introduction: In 50 words outline how the author introduces the book and catches the attention of the reader.
  •  ‍Sharing ideas with the group: Come to an agreement about what works best on the cover. (and anything you don’t think works). As a group create an alternative cover and “Blurb” for your book
  •  ‍Summarising Skills: Make a 100 word summary of the pages which you read for today in your own words. Remember that a summary needs to include the main ideas/information of the text in a logical order. Share your ideas with your group. Do they agree or do they have alternative points?
  •  ‍Creating Questions: Write 5 questions which could be used to test the reader’s comprehension of the text which you read for today. Remember that questions need to include the main information in the text and they need to test whether the reader has understood the text. All questions need to be open-ended to allow for discussion. Share these questions with your group and take note of their answers.
  •  ‍Illustrating skills: Draw a picture which illustrates the section of the book which you read for today. The drawing must show what is in the text and how well you have understood the meaning of the text.
  •  ‍Character description: Pick a character from your book and write either a “missing person” or “wanted” poster for this person. Include in your poster information that you have discovered from the book.
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