fbpx
Search
Close this search box.

A Montessori Teacher’s Approach to Picture Books in the Classroom

Picture books are inviting, uplifting, thought-provoking, and heartwarming. Images and illustrations are powerful! The right picture book can not only imprint positive life morals but also spark the curious imagination within a reader.

This is a guest blog post, which first appeared on Kids’ Book Review

Picture of Donna Paul

Donna Paul

A Montessori elementary teacher by trade with over ten years of experience in the classroom, Donna is a self-published author, co-creator of engaging and educational activities for young learners, as well as an online ESL teacher. If she’s not working, she’s probably working out. Donna strives to live a healthy and adventure-filled life. Family, learning, writing, health and wellness, compassion, plant-based food, tiny living, loving animals, and travel are topics that make her soul smile. An eternal optimist and fueled by the power of patience (and plants!), Donna is a believer in the good of all beings. Driven to make herself a better person and always striving to lead by example. You can find her picture book, Carl the Cantankerous Cat, on Amazon.

Picture books are my jam! I love everything about them. So much so that I self-published my own, Carl the Cantankerous Cat. Crazy, I know! As an elementary Montessori teacher, I find it helpful to supplement lessons with picture books whenever possible. Why? 

Picture books are inviting, uplifting, thought-provoking, and heartwarming. Images and illustrations are powerful! The right picture book can not only imprint positive life morals but also spark the curious imagination within a reader. You know what I’m talking about. For me, it was anything with spectacularly illustrated pets. Those books spoke to me. And later I would speak them to my stepdaughter, Taylor, and share their magic with her. Now she’s going on twenty years of age (where did the time go?), and we still enjoy reminiscing about her childhood, what she grew up doing, saying, and reading. I tell you –memories are made with picture books.

Did you know that a carefully selected read-aloud can be a powerful teaching tool for learners of all ages and styles? Picture books can captivate a class of fidgety first graders, bring jaw-dropping wonder to the early elementary years, and spark intellectual discussions with upper grades. Combining pictures and illustrations can benefit a student’s literacy skills, promote reading, improve observation skills, and encourage creativity. Picture books encourage all types of learners to engage and explore. Amazing!

Guidelines for choosing picture books

Not all picture books are created equally. When considering picture books for my Upper Elementary classroom, I always keep Dr. Montessori’s ideas about young children and their development in mind. Remember these important principles on your next library visit, bookstore outing, or online shopping haul!

1. Keep It Real

Choose books that are based in reality. Children are naturally interested in the world around them. They should be exposed to books that cover real-life scenarios. Try to find books with stories of real experiences, such as daily life activities, and that show pictures of real objects, such as vehicles, rather than fantasy.

2. Choose Beauty

Select books with alluring illustrations. Model to children how delicately you hold a picture book as if it is a piece of art. Children love beautiful things. Aesthetically pleasing books are known to grasp a reader’s attention and admiration. 

3. Rich Language

Children want to learn new words. They want to understand unfamiliar vocabulary terms. They want to know how to pronounce long words. Words intrigue children. So, look for picture books that offer descriptive words, accurate language, and a vast vocabulary. While the illustrations take the reader on a journey, including extra description in sentences allows readers to experience the story much better.

4. Educate Yourselves

Look for books that provide a deep, thought-provoking lesson. Expose children to the world around them via the comfort of a picture book. The reader should walk away knowing something new. 

5. Readability

Read a few pages. How does it sound? Does the language flow smoothly or is it awkward and flat? Text that flows rhythmically and naturally is most appealing. Soothing sounds that vary in pitch and tone are effective in holding a listener’s attention. Find books that allow the reader to explore a range of emotions through the text. 

Picture books are excellent supplementary teaching tools. I love using them in my classroom. Illustrations help children understand what they are reading. Pictures guide readers to analyze the story. If children are having difficulty with the words, illustrations can help them figure out the narrative, which leads to an increase in their comprehension. Equipped with picture books that follow the guidelines above, readers are sure to flourish in and out of the classroom. 

Happy reading!

Feature Image - Montessori Teacher's Approach

Related Articles

Feature Image - Montessori Binomial Cube

Maths: The Binomial Cube Explained

This guest post has been republished from Montessori East. The Binomial Cube is one of those amazing Montessori materials. It introduces abstract maths concept to children as...

Read More

The Four Planes of Development

Montessori's four planes of development helps us understand how children view the world depending on their plane of development and how we can support them...

Read More

MSCA is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
(ABN 42 636 033 899)