By the time my students get to me in fourth grade, they are expected to be reading chapter books. It's more mature and sophisticated and, well it's more at their level of reading. But picture books are still such powerful tools to use in fourth grade and beyond. Sometimes they provide a great story to read for enjoyment or a well crafted story that teaches a moral. Lately, I've been using picture books to help my students write narratives.
Picture books are a great way to illustrate the basic elements of a story. Finding just the right book can show how a good story includes a character, a problem, events in a sequence and a solution. Often you can see a climax and resolution. My class and I have been looking at various picture books to reinforce these elements, making sure we include them and develop them in our own narratives. (Fourth graders are required to write a personal narrative for our Massachusetts state test.)
Of course I have a collection of picture books in my room, but Big Universe has provided me with an extensive collection which has been so practical and useful. The last time we were in the Computer Clubhouse, I asked students to search through their own online bookshelves and other places on Big Universe to find a picture book that tells a good story; a picture book that has all the great elements of a story.
Here are some books on Big U that we found that fit this criteria:
Through discussion and sharing, students were able to see time and again what a good story contains. The journey of becoming a writer is a long one, but this step is definitely a good one to take along the way.
Happy reading and happy writing.