Thursday, October 8, 2009

a lovely afternoon picture walk

I have been meaning to blog about picture walking for awhile now and was reminded of its importance while browsing Barnes and Noble yesterday. Picture walking is a technique many teachers use as a building block of writing. During a picture walk children are shown a series of pictures and they use their own words to come up with a story to match the pictures. There are, of course, many different kinds of picture walking activities. Children can re-arrange actual images in a specific order, they can come up with their own pictures or use ones already in a storybook and they can, depending on their current ability, put their words down on the page or simply speak verbally. 

I came across the book Wave by Suzy Lee and knew I had to pick up a copy to use for picture walking. The book is a beautiful tale (sans words) about a little girl at the beach and her relationship to the ocean as she stands at the water's edge. Wave has lovely chalk-like illustrations and a beautiful gray and blue pallet of color. I adored it and hope you all will too. If you'd like pick up the book and settle into a little corner with your youngster. Crack the pages and ask them what they think is going on in each drawing. Talk about the different elements of the picture and they inform each other to build the story. I find that when I do this more times than not the children see far more in these images than I do. They will pick up the little bubbles in the corner, the frown or smile on the character's face, the curl of her dress as it gets wet from the water. After you are finished is the perfect time to make a picture walk of your very own. Get out the crayons and make some pictures together and have fun coming up with a story to go along with them. Don't worry about whether the story builds "correctly" or whether the characters are consistent. Children have a massive creative capacity that sometimes gets distracted. And, after all, it's a writer's prerogative to change his or her mind. 

Happy strolling! 



  1. Ooh, I will have to get that out from our library! My favorite picture walking book is Tuesday--all about flying frogs!! Really good with little boys.

  2. Wave was out at the library. We got "The Zoo," instead (also by Lee). It was wonderful! Sophia "read" it for the entire mile and a half walk home! So, I guess we had a picture walking walk :)

  3. How wonderful! Isn't it just the best to see them bubbling over with things to fill in and say? I'm so glad you two enjoyed your afternoon!