Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Book Study - Chapter 7

Well, friends, I feel a little like the kiddo who is bringing her homework late...but better late than never, right? Pretty, please :)

I usually try to work ahead since I am working on two book studies this summer. But, last week I attended a 2 1/2 day Literacy Conference with a view like this from the 37th floor:

Since we had mostly air-conditioned chartered buses (that drove us to and from the hotel) and Starbucks coffee and snacks at our breaks, it was a nice change of scenery from the usual district building (one story, no views, no snacks).

Which leads me to Technique 1: Crafting with Distance Perspective from Chapter 7: Ideas and Content of In Pictures and In Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study by Katie Wood Ray.

link up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Although I try to bring my personal photographs into the classroom to share with my students, I had not thought about using them as illustration examples until now. The photograph of the buildings is a great example how to show the range of far away and up close to illustrate perspective.

As I read through the other 11 illustration techniques throughout this chapter, I felt like I was transported back to my art classes from college with terminology like perspective, viewpoint, physical space, scenes, movement, action, etc. With a minor in art, you would think I would be more in tune with my students' illustrations, but with everything else I have to teach, I allowed our art teacher to do most of their instruction in this area.

Another technique that stood out to me was Technique 3: Crafting the Background. This is one that my students have difficulty illustrating. Katie explains that while illustrations can range from being busy to having little or no background, it is by careful consideration in regards to the text. Many of my students leave their backgrounds blank, but not on purpose. They do this because they have not been taught to illustrate the background. That's where I come in.

However, one technique that we see frequently in texts is Technique 6: Using Scenes to Capture the Passage of Time. I feel that this technique is one that my students will recognize in text and use frequently in their own illustrations. Non-fiction books contain illustrations that are "frozen in time," like those that are found in life cycles, ordered from left to right or top to bottom.

Other key ideas I want to remember from this chapter:

  • include illustration techniques as teaching points during writing conferences
  • discuss my thinking behind my illustration decisions during writing demos
  • use books with different people as the author and illustrator as well as books that have the same person as both author and illustrator
  • introduce illustrating as a narrator (sounds challenging for my firsties) Technique 12
  • illustrations can be in contrast with the text for humor (hmmm...your thoughts?) Technique 11

Now, I am excited to put my art background to good use. I feel as if I'm going to be reading my books for the first time, with an illustrator's eye.

Please leave me your thoughts, comments, suggestions, and questions. What technique will you use first with your students?


  1. What a view!!!


    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class
    I hope that you'll join me for my giveaway ♥

    1. Hi, Jessica. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wow! That is an amazing view! I think we are all playing catch-up this week. It seems like I am busier now that when school was in session.

    Thank you for linking up!

    1. Oh, thank goodness you are in the same boat. This past week flew by and I felt like I neglected my lil blog :) Thank you for hosting!

  3. We have you as one of our MUST PINS! http://primarypossibilities.blogspot.com/

    1. Oh, wow! Thank you for the recognition! It makes me smile :)