Monday, February 6, 2012

How To Picture Walk Through a Book


Even before their precious bundle of joy is born, parents are told the importance of reading to their child.  Most professionals agree that children should be read to at least 15 minutes a day.  But is there a certain way to read to a child?

One academic term that you will hear floating around is "Picture Walk."  But what is it?  Why is it important? How is it done?  

To get started, grab your favorite little munchkin and a new book.  Sit side-by-side on a comfy couch or chair.    Enjoy the extra cuddle time especially if you are reading with an elementary aged child who may think that he or she is too big to cuddle.  Don't forget to turn off the TV and radio.  Put the cell phone out of reach and on silent.  Designate this section of the day as uninterrupted time. 

Before reading a new story with your child, get in the habit of first taking a "Picture Walk."  It is called a “picture walk” because you "walk" through the pictures or preview the story without reading any words.

This activity helps build interest in the story, aids in comprehension, develops imagination, and teaches the child to use visual clues as a reading strategy.  Although important with preschool aged children, this practice is essential with children learning how to read. 

Begin by looking at the cover picture while reading the title and the author's name.  Using these clues, ask the child, "What do think this story will be about?"  Review the title and author's name while looking at the title page.

Without reading a word, slowly cruise through the entire book.  Spend time looking at every picture.  Ask questions that include the five "W's" and one "H" word - who, what, when, where, why, how.  Be sure to focus on the emotions of the characters.
  • What is the bear doing? 
  • How does the little boy feel? 
  • When is the story taking place?
Answer the child's responses with statements that will peak the child's interest in the book.
  • Maybe you are correct.  
  • Let's see if that is what will happen. 
  • What made you think this?
Begin reading the story.  Without losing comprehension, continue to have short conversations about the book and illustrations during and after reading each page.  Ask the child, "What do you think will happen?"

It may seem that Picture Walking through a book is wasting precious reading time.  On the contrary, this activity is an imperative part of the reading process.  This activity is part of the 5 Year ABCJLM Pre-K Curriculum.

Click to read more ideas on How to Go Beyond the Story.

Update:  View a video on how to Picture Walk


  1. I'd love to send this home with my students' parents next week when we start our weekly Homework Books. Would that be ok with you? How would you like me to credit you? (All I know is your first name is Heidi!) :)


    1. Katie - I am so blessed to hear that you found this information helpful. I would love to have you share it. As far as credit, please provide a link to our websites - and

      Please let me know if you have more questions.


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