Picture This...

Written By: Alison Jay

Before Reading

Let your child explore any illustrations that interest him/her before you begin your read-through. Bring different elements to his/her attention by pointing and giving each a name. Say things like, “Look, there is a giant apple! And there is a man on a ladder picking apples.” For older children, ask “What do you see on the cover? Let’s see what we can find inside.”

As You Read

Vocabulary Building:

While most of the pages in this book only have one word on them, there is great potential for vocabulary acquisition because your child can make one-to-one associations between the word and the object that it is describing. On each page, point to both the word and the object as you read. If your child is verbal, ask him/her to name the object that is on the page or point to the object that has been named. For example, ask “What is that in the picture?” or “Can you point to the airplane?” You can also bring your child’s attention to the other things in the illustrations that aren’t named in the text and discuss the scene as a whole. For example, on the page that reads “hill”, you can say the nursery rhyme of Jack and Jill or say, “Look, there is a boy and a girl. Their names are Jack and Jill. They are climbing the hill with a bucket to fetch some water.”You and your child have great creative freedom to make up stories to accompany each illustration. For older children, ask him/her to describe what s/he thinks is occurring in the illustration.

Making Connections:

Connecting the objects in the book to your child’s life can help him/her apply the words and images to the real world. For example, if you have a cat in your home, when you read “cat”, say, “This is like our cat, ________. What sound do cats make? Do you like _______? Why or why not?” Also, when you read the page “umbrella”, say “This is an umbrella. When do we use umbrellas? That’s right, we use umbrellas when it is raining outside and we want to stay dry.” Also, be sure to be encouraging and very enthusiastic when your child engages with you and the story by saying things like, “That’s right, good work!”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Help get your child in the habit of asking questions and thinking about stories once they are through. Even if s/he is too young to verbally respond, simply asking questions like these and answering them yourself can demonstrate good reading behavior.

Did you like this book? Why?

Can you show me your favorite picture? What is in the picture?

Activity: “Picture This…” Scavenger Hunt

Supplies: This scavenger hunt list, your Picture This… book, and a pen/pencil


Set out to find the items on this list around your home and neighborhood and help your child apply what s/he learned in the book to the real world! If s/he can, have your child point out and name each item once you’ve found it and bring your book along so that you can refer to it as you go along.

  • Hill
  • Car
  • Boots
  • Umbrella
  • Books
  • Bed
  • Cake
  • Clock    
  • Dog
  • Ball
  • Teddy Bear
  • Hat
  • Fish
  • House
  • Toy Box
  • Flower