A picture walk is an interactive activity between the educator and the learners. Essentially, a picture walk involves previewing the pictures in a book prior to introducing the text of an unfamiliar story.
- Explain to the learners that before you read the story, the whole group will look at the pictures together to see if they can guess what the story is all about.
- Look at the cover.
- Point to and say the name of the author and the title of the story.
- Ask the learners what they think the story will be about and if they have any experience with this topic.
- Without reading the words, turn the pages of the book one-by-one and in order.
- Introduce and explain difficult vocabulary words during the picture walk.
Point to pictures and ask questions:
- What do you think is happening?
- What might happen next?
- Who is in this picture (character)?
- When is this story taking place?
- Why does the character appear to be sad?
- Has this ever happen to you?
- Where does this story take place (setting)?
- Where do you think they are going?
- How do you think the story is going to end?
- What are you curious to know more about from this story?
If the learner is reluctant to provide information about the pictures, you can model the strategy yourself by thinking out loud:
- I think the caterpillar is going to get sick from eating all of those treats. Do you agree with me?
- I think this story takes place in a forest. I have seen caterpillars in the forest before. Have you?
- I wonder what happens when a caterpillar stays inside of a cocoon for more than two weeks. What do you think is going to happen next?
Acknowledge any input the learners give you with vague responses that won't confirm whether or not they are correct:
- That's possible.
- Are you sure about that?
- You think that is going to happen? I can't wait to find out!
- Let's see if you are correct.
- Maybe the character will do that. I know I would!
- Once you have completed this process with all of the pictures, read the story with the learners.
- Stop when appropriate to discuss whether the learners' predictions were correct or incorrect using information from both the pictures and the text.
- create interest in the story
- establish a reason for the learner to listen
- increase focus
- explore how learners interpret visual images
- activate prior knowledge about the topic
- familiarize yourself with the learners' prior experience related to the story
- practice using visual cues as a reading strategy
- organize the information in the story to increase comprehension
- generate predictions
- introduce new vocabulary to increase fluidity and decrease clarifications
- encourage group participation
- model enthusiasm for stories