Saturday, June 23, 2012

In Pictures and Words 1-6

About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray is one of my favorite professional books.  This spring I saw her in person and got her new book In Words and Pictures.  Mrs. Wills Kindergarten started a book study.  Head on over for more thoughts on chapters 1-6. 

As a 2nd grade teacher I find it somewhat challenging to find a balance for using pictures and words.  Throughout this chapter I kept thinking about more ways to easily incorporate opportunities for illustrating, while at the same time push students towards 3rd grade writing benchmarks.  One thing I have done is tried to give students choice in writing paper....some used all lines, some use a mixture, and some more space for pictures than words.

Because we talk about stamina for reading so often, I don't this idea is not hard for my kiddos to grasp.....acting upon it will be more of a challenge. 

This past year, we did 10 minute silent writes.  I set a timer and everyone (including me) wrote...we could copy words from the wall, write song lyrics, work on any ideas we have.  There were really no rules except that we had to be silent and we had to be writing.  At first, they all groaned....and then after about a month, I started hearing, "add 10 more minutes"  "can we have 20 minutes today?"  Loved it!

Parallel Writing and Illustrating
Oh my word...this makes total sense, yet I don't do it.  We write, then we draw.  And I think it comes from a management point of view.  Most of my students LOVE drawing, so if given the option would spend 3/4 of the time illustrating and the other writing.  

Here is my aha thought...If I tell my students there are three ways to read a book...."read the pictures, read the words, or retell" Why would the same not be true of their writing?  Shouldn't there be three ways to write....."Write the words, write the pictures, or tell about your story"?

Read Like a Writer
This just makes a lot and write like you read.  Very often, you can tell which students do a lot of reading, because it shows up in their writing.  This year, we read quite a bit of poetry and by the end of the year, I was pretty impressed with some of their impromptu poems.

Illustration Mentors
One of the things we do is point out that often we can know illustrators by their work.  We read a lot of Mo WIllems books, so when we read a book that was written by many different authors, and different illustrators, my kiddos knew which page was done my him.  One student told me Mo Willems would never have to put his name on his work.  Everyone knows what his illustrations look like.  
We also spend a lot of time talking about fiction and non-fiction and how the illustrations help make those types of books unique.  I love to compare, Salamander Rain and The Salamander Room to show how the illustrations teach us or help us imagine.

Writer's Workshop

Got it!

Happy Saturday,


  1. I like the idea of 10 minute silent writes. I'm going to try that - thanks!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  2. I love your ah-ha...This makes perfect sense. I also like the idea of letting children choose what paper to write on. I too have used the illustrating as the carrot to help them get through their writing. This book has opened my eyes to new ideas! I'm glad you're participating!
    Owl Things First

    1. Hmm maybe more of that trust issue....what can I trust my students to be capable of? :-)

  3. I love having a 2nd grade teacher's perspective! I am glad you spoke about non-fiction and illustrations in those texts. I can certainly see the justification for illustrative studies when it comes to this genre in the older grades. 2nd grade, 3rd grade, beyond! Love! It!

    I am getting so excited!
    Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

    1. Writing has such a you need a something to meet all the students' needs.

  4. Yes it does make sense.... Kids love to draw because it's an easy media of conveying meaning.... that means we play into those illustrations more. When I taught 2nd grade I used to do the same thing - write then draw.... What was I thinking? And oh my what you could do in 2nd grade with nonfiction texts!!

    I look forward to seeing more!
    Kindergarten Lifestyle

    1. We finished the year with a non-fiction study and writing. The final product turned out so kid done and wonderful. If you want to see some examples I did a post about it a bit ago.

  5. Hi Laurie! I'm so glad you commented on my blog so I could find yours! I also teach second grade and love to find new second grade blogs! I struck gold with yours! :0)

    I love the connection of "reading like a writer and "writing like a reader"! It makes total sense! I will definitely be telling my students about the three ways to read and write!

    One of the things I began doing last year was having my students "rehearse" what they were going to write to a partner. Students first brainstormed their ideas, and the order of the events they would write about, then told the story with plenty of details to a partner. This really helped them to see that writing was just like "telling" a story. They often remembered details they wanted to include in their writing as they were telling their stories.

    Thanks for sharing this book study! I've bookmarked it so I can follow along!


    1. I also like the idea of rehearsing...will have to try that out.

  6. I love this. You are so thoughtful in your teaching and reading. It's inspirational, really. This rocks me...Gather....Expect....Immerse....Study....Write. I have to take it, but don't worry I'll tell everyone how great you are for thinking of it. ;)

    ✰ Kimberley ✰
    First in Maine

    1. Thank you! I didn't make those words up....the brillian Katie Wood Ray did.....I just had to repeat them:-)