Prereading is a very important step for a good reader. Every year when I get a new group of students and we begin the study of our first story, students are quick to point out that they know they should first take a "picture walk," but I am quick to modify their thinking and tell them that not only should they be taking a picture walk, but also a "text walk." That starts a great conversation about prereading a text.
Text Walks - Once the students are reminded of the importance of scanning text, all the different types of text are discussed: titles, subtitles, table of contents, headings, captions, bold words, words in italics, the use of different fonts and font sizes and colors.
Picture Walks - Discussing the various text features to consider also brings up the different types of pictures that can be displayed throughout a text: photographs, illustrations, maps, graphics, diagrams and charts.
Together, the two create an in-depth study of the book or story. This can lead to great discussions about what genre a book is and, of course, allows us to do other things good readers do like make predictions, ask questions, make connections and draw conclusions.
My students and I create a t-chart that contains these text and pictorial features. On one side are the text features and the other side are the pictorial. This quick graphic organizer, drawn in the shape of a t, is created multiple times throughout the year so that we are revisiting this prereading strategy again and again.
So much can happen just at the cracking open of a book whether it's online or in hand. It's important to get students into the habit of scanning both pictures and text before they settle in to start reading. Doing so is a great way to get young readers interested and invested in reading before they even begin.
What other picture and text features do you look at before reading?