Reading with young children: a picture walk

Exploring stories with your children encourages new discoveries and fosters a love of reading!

There are many ways to promote reading skills at home or in the classroom setting. Today, I would like to share with you the process of taking a picture walk…

Selecting Quality Books

Before taking a picture walk it is a good idea to choose children’s books that have interesting, meaningful, and simple illustrations that capture young children’s attention and will promote conversation about what is happening on each page of the book…

Start with the Cover 

Start with the cover of the book and use the illustration on the cover of the book to promote conversation about what the book might be about. Vanessa Levin suggests “While exploring the cover of the book, use language like “cover” and “spine” to familiarize young children with the features of a book.”

Take a Picture Walk

A picture walk is simply going through the pages of the book before reading it aloud with the children and using the illustrations to determine what is happening on each page of the book…

One goal of a picture walk is to help children draw connections between the words on the page and the illustrations they see on the page.   As young children grow familiar with a book they enjoy, they will use the illustrations to help them recall information about what is happening in the book or what the words say in the book.

Making new Discoveries

The second goal of a picture walk is to help young children gain meaning from the pages of the book. As young children look through the pictures and express their thoughts about what they think is happening in each picture, they begin to build their reading comprehension skills (Vanessa Levin).   Through a picture walk, young children are able to discover that the book goes beyond just words on a page – it is instead a story that has meaning, action, and characters that they can get to know and love…

Retelling a Story

After we take a picture walk and read a book together, I make sure to keep the book available in our classroom library for the children to read on their own.  Because we have read the book together and explored the pictures together, I find that when my students “read” the books on their own time, they will naturally look through the pictures and talk about what is happening on each page. I love listening to their versions of the story as they take their own picture walks…

I also find that by modeling a picture walk for my students, they often want to be the “teacher” and lead their friends through a picture walk too…

Starting Early

Don’t forget that picture walks can begin even with our youngest learners.  This is my young grandson exploring a familiar children’s story with a picture walk…

Special Thanks

In preparing for this post, I asked my good friend and fellow blogger Vanessa Levin of Pre-k Pages to share some of her thoughts on this topic as well. Thank you, Vanessa, for your help and support!

Books from Amazon


Links to grow on

Pre-K Literacy Reading Workshop from Pre-K Pages

Ten Tips for Read Aloud Learning from Teach Mama

Taking a Picture Walk from Hands and Voices



Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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