Sherri Winans
Whatcom Community College
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Ann Neal
English 225
Explorations Report
Spring 2011

Picture Books: Styles and Efficacy for the Beginning Reader

Questions for the class:

Do the books and/or their style spark any additional thoughts?  Can you move what I have observed and discovered further?  Do you see other ways the child learning to read might be helped by the way the illustrations and text work together?

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Notes:  The “idea” of attempting this project was somewhat overwhelming but the “process” of completing it was an absolute joy. I was able to overcome my anxiety by breaking the project down into its respective bits. The first bit included meeting with Sherri and learning how to make a “Jing” video. That was a huge hurdle. The second was getting my husband to build me the book rack for my classroom. He learned quite a bit from this too. The third was getting a wide selection of books from the library and then doing my scientific research. It’s not always easy finding the inner calm to make observations and record data with 21 seven-year-olds needing this or that.

The idea for the content was shepherded along during the trip to the library and from there the project unfolded as if directed by an unseen hand or predestined script. The practicality of exploring “Early Readers” and the ways they aid the young child in their journey to becoming fluent readers was immediately applicable to my professional life. There is not a day that goes by in my classroom in which my mind’s eye doesn’t focus on this project. I will never read to my students in the same way again. I have become acutely aware of their experiences as listeners and learners. Now when I go to the library to get books for our classroom, I am sure to choose a wide variety of books. I have certain children in mind when I choose books because after watching to see what types of literature they are drawn to, I have a sense of their tastes and needs. It feels personal. The project helped me to get to know my students in way that I hadn’t before. It deepened my understanding of them and consequently my care and concern for them deepened as well. It really did.

Works Cited


Krasnesky, Thad. That Cat Can’t Stay. Brooklyn, New York, 2010. Print.


Modesitt, Jeanne. Oh, What a Beautiful Day! Honesdal, Pennsylvania: Boyds Mill Press, 2009. Print.


“Picture Books.” The Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2005. Print. Pages 1051-1067.


Staake, Bob. Look! A Book! New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011. Print.


Suen, Anastasia. The Clubhouse. New York: Viking Press, 2002. Print.


Copyright 2011
Ann Neal


Funded through the U.S. Dept. of Education, Title III Grant PO31A980143
Sherri Winans, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA