We are preparing the children for pre –literacy skills. In the Buttercups class, each circle time is an opportunity to perform a picture walk. Starting with the front of the book, we familiarize the children with books components; the spine, the cover, the back.  We show them the top of the page and from which point the writing begins.

We go through each page without actually reading any of the words. Instead, based on the pictures, we ask the children what they think is happening and what they think will happen next.

One goal of a picture walk is to help children draw connections between the words on the page and the illustrations they see on the page.   As young children grow familiar with a book they enjoy, they will use the illustrations to help them recall information about what is happening in the book or what the words say in the book.

A second goal of a picture walk is to help young children gain meaning from the pages of the book. As young children look through the pictures and express their thoughts about what they think is happening in each picture, they begin to build their reading comprehension skills.   Through a picture walk, young children are able to discover that the book goes beyond just words on a page – it is instead a story that has meaning, action, and characters that they can get to know and love.

It also gives children room to create and imagine, and most important, it makes them really think.

Finally, we go back to the beginning and read the story in its written form. 

Eventually the children will be able to perform the picture walks in pairs with a teacher overseeing.