Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Visualizing Relative Words with Low-Leveled Books

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 27, 2017 3:28:00 PM

Why is it so important to directly teach vocabulary to children? Children have an amazing ability to soak up new words every day from their environment without being explicitly taught. Many words in our English vocabulary, however, are relative and abstract in their meaning. With informational texts, you can teach your students about the meaning of relative words!

 

Directional words, such as “up” and “down,” are dependent upon the position of the speaker and the listener. The meanings of directional words are difficult to grasp without concrete visual aids. Going Up and Down, a new level B reader from the Kaleidoscope Collection, offers images of common activities such as sliding down a playground slide and climbing up a rock-climbing wall. The familiar images help the reader become situated and understand the spatial meanings of “up” and “down.” 

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If you want to add a science twist to teaching the vocabulary, read Up and Down from the My World Series. Leveled at Guided Reading level E, the book features plants that grow up from the ground (like a sunflower) and plants that grow down underground (like a carrot).

MyWorld_UpAndDown.jpg

Big and Little (Level D) from the Kaleidoscope Collection also uses adjectives with relative meanings. The meaning of the words “big” and “little” only make sense if the reader knows what the object is being compared to. The boy’s shirt is big compared to Baby’s shirt. Baby’s pants are little compared to her brother’s pants. Ask your students: Would the boy’s shirt be big compared to his dad’s? Would Baby’s pants be little compared to a doll’s pants?

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Using photographs for reference will help your students distinguish between these relative words that are understood through context. Their vocabulary skills will go up, up, and up!

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Click the left image below to download information about Kaleidoscope Collection. Click the right image below to download information about My World.

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Topics: Informational Text, Early Childhood, Kaleidoscope Collection, My World, Pictures

The Importance of Pictures for Reluctant Readers

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 6, 2017 3:42:00 PM

Why do children’s books include pictures? Of course, colorful illustrations are eye-catching and pique any reader’s interest. Pictures in books don’t just exist for visual pleasure, though—they provide important visualization that deepen textual meaning.

The Common Core State Standards focuses on a reader's ability to gain meaning from pictures in both narrative and informational texts:

  • "Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, settings, or events" (RL.1.7)
  • "Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the wrods in a text" (RI.1.6)

Research shows that many students who struggle with reading comprehension also have trouble creating a mental image of what is happening in the text. With pictures to accompany the words, students receive a visual scaffolding that helps them understand the content of the story.

HRay_DoveKing_PAGES (dragged).jpgFor example, students might have never encountered "a flock of doves" (2) in their lifetime. This unfamiliarity would seriously hinder a student's comprehension of The Dove King from Fables and the Real World.

However, the illustrations on page 2 allow students to infer that a dove is a white bird. Furthermore, because many birds are pictured, a "flock of doves" must refer to a group of birds. In this way, the book's illustrations promotes understanding and allows the students to access a book through multiple avenues. 

 

 

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Pictures aren't just for "little kids"! Hameray's Extraordinary Files series allows students at higher reading levels to benefit from visual representation in their books. Leveled from Guided Reading Level T to Y, this series features graphic novel-style art, like the one shown in the opening page of Sleepwalker (3). Even older readers will find this series sophisticated and age-appropriate.

Every spread of these 48-page books contain illustrations that give clues about the setting, plot, and characters' emotions. Better yet, the pictures don't sacrifice the complexity and richness of the actual text. Students must pay attention to the words and the pictures on the page to gain full understanding of the story. Older students who don't gravitate towards reading will love reading this series like a graphic novel!

As described above, pictures are helpful reading tools for readers of all age, especially for reluctant readers that would benefit from comprehension aids. What student doesn't love looking at pictures?

 

The foundational concept for this blog's ideas are supported by Gomes and Carter's "Navigating through Social Norms, Negotiating Place: How American Born Chinese Motivates Struggling Learners" (2010). 

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Click the left image below to download information about Fables and the Real World. Click the right image below to download information about The Extraordinary Files.

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Topics: Narrative Text, Extraordinary Files, Reluctant Readers, Fables and the Real World, Hi-Lo, Pictures

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