Friday, July 20, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Book Study - Chapter 9

Welcome back to In Pictures and In Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study! Thank you for joining us on our literary journey. This week's musings are over Chapter 9: Wholeness of Text, the main idea being "how illustrators make connections between and among illustrations" (p. 168). A big thanks to Cheryl at Primary Graffiti for hosting!
by Katie Wood Ray
I don't know about y'all, but this chapter was a lil' tough for me. I mean, I understood Technique 26: Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead (circle story, right?) and Technique 31: Using Details of Weather to Show the Passage of Time (as in a plant life cycle), but some of the talk about static details and insignificant details started to just all sound the same. Anyone else agree? But, then again, that's why I'm learn from you and your interpretations of the text. I want clarity, otherwise how will I explain these techniques to my kiddos?

If your students are anything like mine, they love Laura Numeroff's books! Her books are fun, have excellent examples of ADD, and are classic examples of Technique 26: Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead. They are great picks for the beginning of the year due to their familiarity and engaging use of silly animals. Here's a cute craftivity to go along with If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

get Melissa's work here

This craftivity includes a writing activity with the sentence starter, "If I gave a pig a _________ it might want __________." Plus, there are easy templates for your students to use to make their own piglet to hold the writing illustration / prompt.

I think Technique 31: Using Details of Weather to Show the Passage of Time can be exemplified by this book by Gail Gibbons, The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree. This illustration technique is probably one that our students can easily identify and, with guidance, use in their own writing...especially with so many of us doing apple studies early in the school year.

Here's a seasons reproducible book I found that would be great for the important writing connections. This 18-page book includes fact pages, acrostic poems for each season, and places for illustrations.

get Amy's book here
Another favorite book of students in my class is Chalk by Bill Thomson. This wordless picture book is an example of Technique 25: Building Meaning from One Idea to the Next since it is the illustrations alone that move the story. As you "write" the story with your students, it helps them with building vocabulary, connecting ideas to meaning, and drawing details from the story to build the "wholeness" of the story.

Have you had your students make wordless books for other students to "tell" the story? I think this would also help my students to understand how important the illustrations are to the story. If the pictures do not connect to take the story forward then meaning is lost.

Do you think it's best to use as many different books as you can for the illustration examples or would it be best to use a smaller number of trade books for showing examples of many illustration techniques? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. phew...I'm glad others had a hard time with this chapter...I thought it was just me! I do have to say, it really made me think and I'm glad I stuck it out and came up with something! Thank you for the freebies!
    Owl Things First

    1. Jenny, thank goodness it wasn't just us! After I put it aside for a couple of days, it made a lil' more sense! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment!

  2. Just like you ladies, I had a hard time with this chapter too. Love the freebies and ideas. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Jodi...great minds think you for stopping by!