SOL16 Day 8: Picture Book Superpowers

The other day, M wondered, half-moaned aloud, “Why are we reading all these picture books?” and “When are we going to read chapter books?”

Great question!

D responded before I had a chance, “We are working on easy books so we can learn to think deeper. It’s sort of like a drill.”

Yeah. What he said.

At the beginning of the year, I started TCRWPs 5th Grade Reading Unit on Interpretation of Theme. After bend one, I knew we would need to return to it later in the year. Students weren’t ready. Yet.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve read nothing but picture books with big accessible ideas.

They build on each other in predictable ways and connect in surprising ways.  Every book lights up the room with deep thought and pure pleasure. That’s the beauty of a well-written and illustrated picture book.

Yesterday, we began our study around strands of the TCRWP’s reading progressions.  I had hopes of big kid thinking about picture books would demonstrate what they might do in their middle-grade fiction books.  As D had mentioned, this was the drill.

Each club got a form for note taking.

They looked at their choices.


They chose a book and identified a story element to study.

Character Relationships






Character Traits


Repeating Object

I could have stopped at this point and been thrilled.  They knew what story element drove each story.

They got it.

They talked.


Picked up their club books.

Asked each other, “What story element should we focus on?”

Bam! Zap! Pow!

Picture book super powers!

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the March Slice of Life Challenge. Reading slices is a joy. Find them here.