Our third idea for using projectors and document cameras in the classroom is incorporating Children’s Picture Books into lessons.

The Technical Side:

Before Doc Cameras:  When reading a book to the class you had to stop and hold the picture up as you walked around the room, or panned the room for all to see.   Most of the meanings in the pictures were lost on the students who could not see the image well enough or long enough to derive meaning from it.

With Doc Cameras: When placing the book under the document camera the entire class can see the pictures as you read the story aloud.   Students can look for meaning in the illustrations and how that meaning matches, or does not match with the text.   With the zoom feature you can focus in on details of the pages they would have never seen before.

Why read picture books in middle school?

Research shows that reading aloud to students is an important way to build their vocabulary, reading and comprehension skills.

Here are some of the highlights of an article written in the Middle School Journal on why you should read picture books in middle school:

  • Provides students with an opportunity to read a variety of texts
  • Increases and enhances the reader’s personal connections with the subject matter
  • Picture books are now being written to address middle school needs and interests.
  • Many picture books can be interpreted on several levels.
  • Students are visually oriented and are accustomed to using visual images to assist in learning new concepts
  • Good activity for English Language Learners – it reduces the word load for students while keeping a high level of comprehension needed

Things to consider when choosing a Picture Book:

  • How enthusiastic are you about it?  The more you like the book and are excited about it, the better reception the students will give it.
  • What are your learning objectives?  Books should always be chosen to help meet those objectives.
  • What is the quality of the book?
    • Does it have rich information?
    • Does it meet high literary standards with it’s vocabulary and author’s style of writing?
    • Look for awards such as the Caldecott for indications of a good book.

A great place to start when choosing a picture book is your library! use the librarians expertise in helping select books that meet the needs of your classroom.

For more details on choosing books for each academic subject area see  A Middle School Teacher’s Guide for Selecting Picture Books – Middle School Journal.   Half way through the article they break it down for each academic area to choose books.    You can also search for “picture books in middle school (insert your subject here).”

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