In Pictures and In Words...Chapters 1-6

 In Pictures and In Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study

I'm a little late to the party, but I'm linking up with Mrs. Wills for her book study of In Pictures and In Words this summer and let me begin by saying that I am sooooo glad I bought this book!! I read the first 6 chapters this past weekend while sitting by the pool with my girlfriends and was highlighting the whole time! Here are a few highlights:

Chapter 1
In her first chapter, Katie Wood Ray digs into letting us know why illustration study is so important in developing our little ones into writers. This was particularly interesting to me because in all of our common core trainings, we've been told that having children pay closer attention to illustrations and determine why they were used in the book will have a much bigger place now (I love it when things work out like that!!). This illustration study is important because in our classroom, children are surrounded by picture books, therefore creating these types of works is natural for our students. The chapter discusses the stance of teaching into illustrations instead of out of illustrations and showing children that image making and word making are valued equally in our classroom. One of my favorite points in this chapter is:
"If teachers are willing to make a composing connection and show children how an illustrator's decisions about pictures are a lot like a writer's decisions about words, she forms a bridge of understanding that nurtures children as both illustrators and writers."

Chapter 2 
Chapter 2 discusses building stamina with our children. This is something I'm guilty of having an issue with in the past. With more and more being expected in kindergarten, I often feel rushed to get everything done. This is something I definitely want to be more aware of this year. I need to work on giving my children time to sit and work on something everyday, over days and weeks instead of wanting my little kiddos to get done quickly. I really want to work on letting my children engage in more book making rather than individual writing pieces that are different everyday and ones in which I tell them the topic.

Chapter 3
In this chapter, we are encouraged to see writing and illustrating as parallel processes. Katie encourages us to not teach "one correct" writing process, rather let the children work through and develop their own process and writing and illustrating. She also discusses guiding children in discussing the the decisions illustrators make and how they affect the book. I really want to do a better job of delving into these types of conversations with my class this year. I also want to encourage children to share their thinking when they illustrate and to share their decision making process.

Chapter 4
Chapter 4 discusses teaching our children to read like writers. We need to really make an effort to discuss the author and illustrator of the story, use their names throughout reading and when talking about decisions they made when writing or illustrating, and also model our thinking in front of our students. I am often guilty of starting a story and quickly mentioning the author and illustrator and never going back and mentioning them again. This is another thing I really want to work on as well.

Chapter 5
In chapter 5, Katie discusses how we can teach the elements of good writing through looking at illustrations. When children understand that both the words and pictures create meaning in a story, it makes such a big difference! I want to do a better job this year of getting children to really think about their illustrations this year when they are writing. In the past, I've been guilty of not really making a big deal out of their "picture," because I was so focused on getting them to write words. I'm anxious to read the chapters on teaching different techniques of illustration because one thing I'm worried about is that so often my children come in not being able to really "illustrate" much and are constantly telling me they don't know how to draw whatever it is they're trying to create.

Chapter 6
Chapter 6 deals with the writing workshop in our classroom. This is definitely something I need to improve on, because last year (since everything was little crazy with inheriting kids from 14 different classes in October), I didn't even have a set writing workshop time (shame, shame...I'm embarrassed!). I'm excited to begin the year in our writing workshop really getting into illustration study and I'm even more excited to let the kids take a bigger role in this as they study illustrations, rather than listen to me tell them about them. I'm also anxious to get back in my classroom and dig through my books to see which ones will be best for these studies. I would love to hear what you plan on using to get your kiddos working on illustration study!

Sorry for the longest post ever!! I'll be back later this week with more from the book :)


  1. Love the ideas & your interpretation of the book! I read most of it over winter break last year and started in January w/ my students. I LOVED the idea of writing ABOUT something not just telling me about something. It seemed like a sticky note idea vs a writing sample.

    The issue that I cant wait to work through (b/c I quit shh!) this year is the management of getting to each child and feeling like I have a handle on the writing / guided lessons with students. I even had a co-teacher for part of the time which totally helped.

    I wish I could share somehow what my Kinders were able to produce! The peer-teaching between friends was amazing, the creativity students had was amazing. Let me know if you want me to send a few pictures of what a couple of my kiddos created. I do have a few samples still (need to return them next fall)

    Cant wait to go over and read everyone else's thoughts of this book!

    Newest follower!! LOVE your blog!!
    Kindergarten, Iowa

    1. I am so guilty of having the kids write about whatever story we read that day or whatever we're studying rather than actually working on something that is unique to them...I really hope I can get better at that!
      I would love to see some of your email is
      Thank you so so much!!

    2. ME TOO!! I am totally guilty of doing that was a huge thought process shift for me to think about moving to "what do you want to write about"

      I also saw how well this stuff fits in with Common it :)

  2. Yay! You made it! I know those book back orders messed us up!

    The best thing about the start of a school year is building new routines. I am so glad you are excited about writing.

    Thanks for joining us!
    Mrs. Wills Kindergarten


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