A Picture Walk: promoting pre-reading skills

As nannies, we love to read to children.  When you read to a child do you open to the first page and start reading or do you take a picture walk?

A picture walk is a page by page observation and description of the illustrations in the book done by the child with your guidance. This takes place before reading the book.  It requires the child to predict what the book will be about before reading the words.  Picture walks promote pre-reading skills and create an interest in the story for the child.

Here is a 2-step process of how to do a picture walk through a book:

Step 1. The cover: Show the child the cover of the book and ask what he/she thinks the story will be about based on what he/she sees in the pictures. Prediction is a very important reading skill that children will establish in grade school.

The cover picture can be very descriptive. It can show who the characters are and where the story takes place.

Step 2. The inside: Begin flipping through the book page by page with the child and ask questions.

Remember the 5 w’s and 1 h: who, what, when, where, why, and how when taking a picture walk.

Examples of these question words:
Who is in the picture?
What is that character doing?
When could this be happening? (night vs. day)
Why could this be happening?
Where does the story take place?
How do you think the story will end?

You can ask many questions by using the 5 w’s and 1 h.

These question words can elicit thoughtful responses from the child.

Picture walks can be done with children as young as age 2.  As soon as you notice the child is interested in books, that is the time to start working on this prereading skill.  If you use this strategy with every book you read with a child he/she will have a higher understanding of the concepts in a story.

When you finish the picture walk return to cover and read the story with the child.  The child will be excited to discover that most of the predictions he/she made about the book were accurate.


What pre-reading strategies do you use with your child/charge?


One thought on “A Picture Walk: promoting pre-reading skills

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Night at the Fair by Donald Crews | The Educated Nanny

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