Sunday, June 1, 2014

Books to Teach Relationship between Illustrations and Text

Common Core requires students at all levels to be able to pull information from illustrations that accompany the text to add meaning to what is being read.

Kindergarten: RL K.7  With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

First Grade:  RL 1.7  Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

Second GradeL RL 2.7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

Third Grade:  RL 3.7  Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).

The first two books will help you plan lessons to meet this standard and are probably already on your bookshelf.

All of Chris Van Allsburg's books have wonderful illustrations. Jumanji is just one. Remind students to look for the little white bull terrier that appears  in most of his books and write reasons why the dog belongs in the particular story.


Who doesn't love the zany antics of Gloria?
Cover up the words with Post-its and let students guess which safety rule is illustrated.

Officer Buckle and Gloria

You might not have a copy of Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, but if you don't, go order one now.  I have one of the portfolio sets so that I can post one of the pictures and the caption in the room or in a literacy station. My students love when I put one of these up. They will scour the picture for details.

Here's a link to the portfolio edition.

And last, but not least, is a collection of short stories written by familiar authors telling what they think happened in the Harris Burdick pictures. This one is on my wish list, but I think it will be fun to share these stories with my kiddos after they write their own.

Do you have any other books that are your favorites for linking illustrations with the text? Share them in a comment. I'll choose one of the comments to win a product of your choice from my TpT store. Leave your comment and email address before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 2.


  1. Eve Bunting's books are great to help students better understand the relationship between illustrations and text. Smoky Nights is a wonderful book to teach this standard.


  2. I love the Harris Burdick illustrations...we used to use them in fourth grade for a jumping off point to write your own story.

    In second grade we use Officer Buckle and Gloria to teach the relationship of text and illustrations. (The dog is doing funny tricks but when the officer looks, she is sitting normally.) It is often the first time students see that the author doesn't always tell us everything.

    tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

    1. I love both of these, too. Do you have any other favorites that I didn't mention in my post?

  3. I am kindergarten and my kiddos love The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big, Hungry Bear. They are continually looking for the bear which never appears but is on the back cover. It also shows what the mouse is feeling and they love predicting. I also love Officer Buckle and Gloria. It's a staple in everyone's classroom I think.

    1. I'll share these with my kindergarten teachers. Thanks!

  4. I like using Knots on a Counting Rope. The illuStrations really help with the inferring.

    1. I love Knots on a Counting Rope. I have a simple counting rope a teacher gave me during a training a conducted years ago.

  5. My kids loved reading Red Rubber Boot Day and looking at how the illustrations help tell the story. The illustrations are amazing. We also love reading Jan Brett books and looking at the small illustrations on the side to that tell parts of the story that are not written and we practice writing side stories with those illustrations.

  6. I love the idea of using the small pics at the side! Thanks!

  7. I use Owl Moon by Jane Yolen! Covers a ton of standards...and such a lovely story.

  8. I start the first day with Leo the Late Bloomer. I met the illustrator Jose Aruego and he talked about how the artist creates emotion in the character's faces and you can tell how the character is feeling. I talk about this with my students day one. We inferred how Leo was feeling sad because he couldn't do the things others were ready for. Once Leo was ready he bloomed! Leo's expression says it all...words weren't necessary.