How to Use Pictures to Help Students Read in Kindergarten

In the third post of our Reading Conferences with Beginning Readers blog series, our literacy team shares how to use pictures to help children read text. This post is taken from our free, downloadable Reading Conferences by Bebop Books guide.

Teaching valuable reading skills and behaviors is essential in the beginning of kindergarten. When children start to read and engage with texts at levels A, B, and C, they need to know different strategies to use when they come to a word they don’t know or have to figure out what’s happening in the story.

Children should know that the pictures in their books are highly supportive of the text. It is very unlikely to find a word on a page that is not supported by the picture.

As children look at each page of a book, they should get into the habit of checking the picture first and then trying to read the words on the page. When children get stuck on a word, checking the picture can help them figure out the word.

What a Street!Ideas for Partnerships who are working on using pictures and the text to read:

  • Instruct partnerships to open a new book together and flip through the pages to look at the pictures before trying to read the words. Afterward, ask the partnership members to think about what the story was about and use the pictures to help them figure out what the words could be.
  • Encourage partnerships to question each other politely if something in a picture does not match what the partner has read. This will reinforce the idea that words in the book match the pictures and that a reader corrects the words if something does not make sense.

 Ideas for English Language Learners (ELLS)

  • If the teacher anticipates that there will be unfamiliar vocabulary, preteach a few of the words before children attempt to read the book.
  • Provide a separate word wall handout for ELLs that is tailored to their needs. Keep this in a folder or on a stand as a reference for children as they read.

 Ways to support this skill/behavior throughout the day:

  • Before doing a Read-Aloud, do a “picture walk” with the class to preview some of the story.
  • During Shared Reading, prompt the whole class to check the picture to get help with a word when the children are stumped.

Listed here is an example of a scenario that demonstrates helping students with using pictures and the text to read:

Research: Ask the child to read aloud. Do the words that child reads make sense with the picture?

Observation: The child reads a word that contradicts the picture (e.g. reads “red bus” when the picture depicts a yellow bus).

Coach/Prompt: Say: “Does the picture match what you read? Make sure your words match what you see in the picture.”

Demonstration: Use the text, What a Street! and turn to pages 2 and 3. Say, “Watch me read this page. I need to check the picture and make sure that it matches what I read.” Read the first sentence on page 2 and pretend to get stuck on the word “street.” Deliberately check the picture for help. Have the child try in his or her own book.

Interested in ordering Guided Reading books for your kindergarten classroom? Check out our collections of books at levels A, B, and C below:

Missed our posts in our Guided Reading in Kindergarten series? Click below to read more:

4 thoughts on “How to Use Pictures to Help Students Read in Kindergarten”

  1. These are some great ideas on how to better help students read in kindergarten.

    Both of my youngsters could read before they went to school. How we did it?

    At first, I read. A lot. I read my very own books, I read to my children and we go to the library and take indistinguishable number of books from we can pass on each time. We check out books on tape in the vehicle too. Read things to them that are over their reading level.

    Next, we had stacks of informational toys that help reading, had letter tiles and appealing letters and I in like manner posted cards with words on them wherever all through the house, naming everything (Stove, Frame, Bookcase, Chair, etc.).

    Moreover, I used a book I found on this site. We just got to about exercise 25 or 26 and both of my youngsters were reading by then. We didn’t do a whole practice every day… as it got all the more excitedly and my youngster was doing combating, I simply did a half or 33% of an activity daily.

    One of my kids is directly 12 and is simply as of now getting books, so far he was happy to be read to and read comic books like the Far Side, Garfield, Baby Blues, . It required some venture. My other tyke is 14 regardless of all that I read to them two around night time. About an hour each time, to a great extent extra, if the cliffhanger is too stimulating to even think about evening consider postponing until tomorrow.

    Moreover, when they do make sense of how to read, even a piece, let them read ANYTHING. In case they like comic books, get them comic books. Make an effort not to push that they aren’t reading noteworthy composition, the huge thing is to make them read… whatever it is, even magazines, on the ipad, etc. Over the long haul, they will get various sorts of books.

    Remember: reading is the best approach to advance!

    Great karma to you!


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