is the strategy "Picture Books and Illustrator Studies"?
Books and Illustrator Studies" is a strategy that fosters
visual literacy through a process of guided viewing. The teacher
selects a variety of picture books, and through guided discussion,
develops awareness of visual elements, effects, and meanings. This
includes illustrators' styles, various kinds of artwork, and details.
Students develop awareness of meaning, not just through the content
described in the images, but through the compositional aspects of
the images themselves. As children develop awareness of the language
of images, they better appreciate the written language that accompanies
it. Students have the opportunities to identify stylistic differences
and similarities, and seek out these meaning patterns in other books
by the same, and different illustrators.
(Please note: In How
do I do it?, terms and suggestions are offered to help
you structure your guided discussion, based upon the needs of your
students and the content in selected picture books and illustrations.)
is the purpose of "Picture Books and Illustrator Studies"
as an instructional strategy?
viewing picture books and engaging in illustrator studies, students
develop an awareness of visual text, and identify the expressive
elements in visual texts. Students become aware of how visual elements
are used by illustrators to result in great expressive ranges and
numerous potentials. Students, when viewing and reading books, develop
awareness of connections between visual texts and accompanying written
texts. The teacher models, through guided discussion and questions,
the process of critical, guided viewing, and students are led to
examine elements in visual texts. As students read various books
by authors, they have opportunities to practice, transfer, and extend
the process of critical viewing to other illustrations and books,
and to other visual material.
do I do it?
Lesson Planning Guide for Viewing (ELA Curriculum, 2002)
Consider the developmental stage of the students. What do they
already know and do as viewers? What do they not know or do as
viewers? What is their background knowledge?
on knowledge of the students, and skills they need to develop,
what criteria and guidelines will help students focus their learning?
What key information or concepts do students need to know to fully
participate in this activity? ? What mini-lesson(s) might be needed
for students to prepare for this activity?
identify the task; and select, read and pre-review the key resources.
What is the task? (For example, do you want the students to focus
on one key page or image, or all the images in a book? Will students
focus on colour, shape, or texture?) What strategies will students
need to use to participate in a meaningful, purposeful way? What
supports should be offered to students throughout the process?
What guiding questions would direct, re-focus, and support children
through this process?
the purpose so students pay attention to the images as you read
the book aloud. Identify viewing targets before reading the book.
You may wish to post them to reinforce them and orient students
to view for particular purposes. Ideas for viewing targets are
(depicts life closely, as a photograph)
(uses stylized images to stand for characters and story elements)
(straight, curvy, diagonal, repeated-- patterns)
(curved or straight-edged, repeated-- patterns)
(hue, tint, shade, combinations, intensity)
(soft, hard, sharp, etc.)
(the size of images, and of particular shapes within the image)
(foreground, background -- How are the pieces related?)
(What materials and techniques were used to produce the image?)
mood is created in this/these image (s)?
elements produced these effects? (Find proof in the images)
elements work together?
elements did this illustrator predominantly use?
aspects are unique to this illustrator?
examples of viewing targets before reading the story. Discuss
the style, the elements, and the effects achieved by the visual
Identify the author's written content, use of language, textual
form (rhyme, poetry, patterned language, narrative, expository,
etc.), literary devices (i.e. alliteration, simile, metaphor,
etc.), aspects of plot, characters and setting. Which aspects
define this writing style
Discuss how the words mesh with the images. You may choose to
re-read the book, or re-read and re-view key pages to clarify
Questions to Summarize:
are the major attributes of the visual text? (Main idea?)
What are the major attributes of the written text? (Main idea?)
What does the visual text contain that is not present in the written
What does the written text contain that is not present in the
What aspects correlate, are similar or overlap between the written
and visual texts? How do the two meaning systems work together?
What aspects differ greatly between written and visual texts?
What is the combined effect of the visual and written texts?
Consider the alignment of visual and written texts in different
genre-- for example, fiction versus non-fiction material.)
students opportunities to read and view other works by the same
(or different) illustrators. You may wish to post key terms that
emerged during the lesson, to assist individual students to read
and view independently. Offer a variety of viewing engagements
in the classroom, both guided and independent. Invite students
to bring other illustrated books that employ similar or different
styles, and share them with the class.
can I adapt it?
and recombine visual and verbal aspects:
a. Read a picture book to students without showing the images.
Discuss the story. Re-read the story to students, the second time
showing the images. How is the viewing different? What purpose
did the images serve to the overall story? Relate the images to
story elements like setting, characters, and plot.
b. Look at a picture book and "read the images", making
up your own story, or have students do it. Then, read the picture
book, and discuss how the words worked together with the images.
the class groupings, moving from teacher directed viewing to individual
a. View with the whole class, as a teacher guided activity-Direct
b. View as a cooperative group activity, with a student leader,
and designated tasks for group members -Interactive
c. Pairs of students view a book, discuss, and use a sheet of
guiding questions to respond to particular criteria-Interactive
d. Viewing may be used as part of a viewing or reading station-Indirect
e. Display illustrated books in the classroom, and offer a visually
rich environment so students view daily-Indirect
f. Individuals may use viewing as part of a book study. Responses
may vary from filling out a structured sheet to entering an unstructured
response in a student journal-- Independent
can I extend the viewing process and encourage students to apply,
build, and transform this knowledge?
How does this process apply to another book? How does this process
work with another kind of "still visual", for example,
a poster that combines printing and images? How does the viewing
process apply to another kind of visual text, like an animated
TV commercial or video?
Students may apply, shape, and create their own knowledge through
exploring representational forms: i.e., writing and illustrating
a book, making a slide-tape, making a poster, building a story-board,
filming a video, etc. See the strand, "Representing".
(ELA Curriculum, 2002)
and Evaluation Considerations
"Assessment Strategies for Viewing" (ELA Curriculum,
Emerging/Early Developing Phase Viewing Checklist and Rating Scale
Developing Phase Viewing Checklist and Rating Scale
Assessments for Viewing Visual Texts
Emerging/Early Developing Phase Representing Cumulative Record
structured rubrics, since students learn how to structure their
learning by setting their own criteria.
responses in learning journal, like: "I learned that
or a description of the viewing process, like: "To view,
, then you ". Journal responses may be re-telling,
or can include responses that require complex skills of comparison,
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.