About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray is one of my favorite professional books. This spring I saw her in person and got her new book In Words and Pictures. Mrs. Wills Kindergarten started a book study. Head on over for more thoughts on chapters 1-6.
As a 2nd grade teacher I find it somewhat challenging to find a balance for using pictures and words. Throughout this chapter I kept thinking about more ways to easily incorporate opportunities for illustrating, while at the same time push students towards 3rd grade writing benchmarks. One thing I have done is tried to give students choice in writing paper....some used all lines, some use a mixture, and some more space for pictures than words.
Because we talk about stamina for reading so often, I don't this idea is not hard for my kiddos to grasp.....acting upon it will be more of a challenge.
This past year, we did 10 minute silent writes. I set a timer and everyone (including me) wrote...we could copy words from the wall, write song lyrics, work on any ideas we have. There were really no rules except that we had to be silent and we had to be writing. At first, they all groaned....and then after about a month, I started hearing, "add 10 more minutes" "can we have 20 minutes today?" Loved it!
Parallel Writing and Illustrating
Oh my word...this makes total sense, yet I don't do it. We write, then we draw. And I think it comes from a management point of view. Most of my students LOVE drawing, so if given the option would spend 3/4 of the time illustrating and the other writing.
Here is my aha thought...If I tell my students there are three ways to read a book...."read the pictures, read the words, or retell" Why would the same not be true of their writing? Shouldn't there be three ways to write....."Write the words, write the pictures, or tell about your story"?
Read Like a Writer
This just makes sense....read a lot and write like you read. Very often, you can tell which students do a lot of reading, because it shows up in their writing. This year, we read quite a bit of poetry and by the end of the year, I was pretty impressed with some of their impromptu poems.
One of the things we do is point out that often we can know illustrators by their work. We read a lot of Mo WIllems books, so when we read a book that was written by many different authors, and different illustrators, my kiddos knew which page was done my him. One student told me Mo Willems would never have to put his name on his work. Everyone knows what his illustrations look like.
We also spend a lot of time talking about fiction and non-fiction and how the illustrations help make those types of books unique. I love to compare, Salamander Rain and The Salamander Room to show how the illustrations teach us or help us imagine.