Name of Strategy: Make a Picture Book

  • Rationale:
o This year I have a class that is always asking if they can write in their writing folders (for Writing Workshop) when they are done with their other work. When I tell them they may work on their writing, I usually find them only working on the illustrations for their “stories”. What they were really asking me was, “Can we draw?” With Making a Picture Book, I can still satisfy my students need to draw but also give them a purpose for their writing—something they seem to be lacking from the Writing Workshop format in my classroom. Obviously, I need to make adjustments to Writing Workshop in my classroom—I feel like this is one adjustment I can make, helping them find a purpose for their writing through the make a picture book strategy.
• I also want students to practice their summarizing skills by researching a topic and summarizing the information from the different resources in their own words.

  • Courses in which it could be implemented:
• Make a picture a book can be used in any subject area.
• Science—in place of a lab report, students can make a picture book of their experiments. Students can make an informational picture book on whatever topic is being studies—animals, plants, energy, simple machines, weather—to share with younger students and with each other.
• Social Studies—they can make picture books about their community, other communities, a state (for a state report), a historical event, or an important person in the history of our country.
• Math—they can make a picture book with different types of story problems and how to solve them, about geometric shapes and ideas, probability, famous mathematicians, etc.
• Language Arts—writing stories for younger audiences or their own classmates

  • Diverse learners:
• For students who struggle with writing, picture books offer the opportunity to tell stories through artwork. I have noticed that many of the struggling readers and writers in my classroom are very artistic and are excellent illustrators. Their illustrations can help them tell the story and information that maybe they have difficulty conveying in an essay or report. The structure of a picture book allows them to use smaller chunks of writing to convey meaning.

  • Procedure:
This activity will be done in science.
1. Read different types of picture books about animals to the class. Point out text features and discuss how the authors use words, illustrations, photographs, and other text features to convey information about their topic. Ask students to think about how they might do the same thing in a picture book they would write.
2. Brainstorm different types of animals students may write about.
3. Brainstorm different questions about animals that could be answered in a picture book.
4. Have students choose one animal to make a picture book about.
5. Ask students to think of different resources they can use to find information about their animals—go to library to check out books.
6. On the following day, handout a copy of the questions the students need to answer in their picture books. Tell students they may answer more questions, but they must answer the questions on the handout in their books.
7. Handout a copy of the project checklist so they know what they will be expected to do on the book.
8. Take students to the computer lab to look for information on their animals on the internet. A good website to start from is or .
9. Students may print off pictures and information to use for their books.
10. Students should summarize the information they have found and answer the questions on the handout. (They may use a summarizing organizer if they feel this will help them.)
11. Allow students several days to work on their picture books.
12. When project is done, have students read their books to the class.

  • Potential Issues:
• Students may find it difficult to organize the information they find and in many cases with the info on the internet, they may not be able to read and comprehend it. If I tell students to use the question handout as a guide for the layout of their book, this will help those students with organizational issues. With the information from the internet, I can aid students in reading the material and point them to the information they need to find. Each student should find a book from the library that is at an appropriate reading level for them—this book they can summarize for their picture book project.

  • References
Stephens, E. & Brown, J. (2005). A Handbook of Content Literacy Strategies: 125 Practical Reading and Writing Ideas. Norwood: Christopher-GordonPublishers, Inc.

*Teacher Binder Resources
• Question Handout--Animals
• Summarizing Graphic Organizers , ,
• Project Checklist—Make a Picture Book