Apr 16, 2019

Book Look: A Whole Book Approach storytime (Week 1, Trim Size)

I'm trying a storytime experiment!  I was so inspired by Megan Dowd Lambert's book Reading Picture Books With Children about the Whole Book Approach that I've been trying to weave elements of it into my regular preschool storytime ever since reading it a few years ago.

Recently, I've been thinking about ways to make my storytimes more... child-led (a la Anji Play) and I keep coming back to this Whole Book Approach concept.  Basically, instead of just blasting through a book to figure out the ending as quickly as you can, you instead ask really open-ended questions like, "What do you see?" or "Why do you think the book designer made that choice?" -- questions that (preferably) you DON'T have a specific answer in mind for -- and see what the kids come up with. I'm doing an experiment this year for the month of April and trying to do a whole storytime based on this approach. 

The first week, we looked at "trim size" or really big books and really small books.  The photo above shows some of the books I had on the table for them to choose from.  We actually explored Madeleine, Pierre and Leonardo and then did the Going to Bed book as our app of the week.  We talked about why the authors/illustrators chose to make these books big or tiny and the kids had some good ideas.  But some of the BEST observations were ones they made that had nothing to do with the size of the book.  For instance...

In Madeleine, we noticed that some of the illustrations are only yellow and black while others are more full-color and one of the kids pointed out that the yellow illustrations (at least for the first half of the book) are all interior pictures and the full color ones take place outside the school (this theory doesn't hold strictly true throughout the book but close enough to be very interesting!).

In Leonardo the Terrible Monster, they pointed out the symmetry of two 2-page spreads--one which features a sad Leonardo in the bottom right corner and the other which features a sad Sam in the bottom left corner.  Both pages have almost no words, but the words that ARE there are a simple introduction to the character.

Next week we'll be discussing Orientation (Portrait vs. Landscape) -- can't wait!

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