Using Picture Books to Teach Language Arts || A Timberdoodle Must-Have
I received free product for this review in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts on this blog and my YouTube channel. All ideas shared here are my own and I planned to use this product before receiving an offer to review it for free.
Never underestimate the power of a picture book. I think so many are quick to set them aside in lieu of “more academically rich literature” or at least feel pressured to do so. Why do so many feel that books with pictures are best suited for the very young? I personally can think of no better tool to help a child make the connection between strong words and mental imagery than a picture book. They can hear illustrative adjectives and deliberate adverbs while visually comprehending what those words mean. I think this is a fantastic way to teach by example and expand vocabulary for future composition endeavors.
Even though we have discussed parts of speech over the past few years in our homeschool, one of my kiddos still stumbles when asked to pick a strong adjective or adverb. The struggle, I’ve found, lies in his inability to recall/understand what those parts of speech are in a sentence. As I sought a way to help him, I went right to Timberdoodle’s website and found Word Fun.
So let’s get right to it and see what’s in this book, then I’ll tell you my plans and ideas for using it. To start, I want you to know that this book is actually multiple books in one. All of the chapter titles listed on the contents pages are also available as separate books. In the back there is a glossary with definitions of each part of speech, as well as a great list of other similar style language arts picture books. (While I’d love to share that with you, I’m sure compiling that list took a great deal of time. I’d like to respect the author’s effort and encourage you to pick up your own copy.)
We all know that many pieces-parts are not my thing, so I am glad that Timberdoodle offers this collection in on book. Also, it’s no surprise if you’ve followed our homeschool journey that I love doing things as frugally as possible. By purchasing the all-in-one Word Fun version, you save a good bit of money. There are 8 individual books, priced at around $8 each. The compiled version available that Timberdoodle provides is $19.95 for all 8 books.
Another thing I love about this book is the visual appeal. Language Arts is often a dry subject and anything that makes it more interesting is welcome here. There are whimsical illustrations in full color, with the highlighted part of speech in all caps and different font color.
The text of the book is entertaining, causing many giggles here. However, it is not “too” silly to lose the effect of teaching the eight parts of speech. On the contrary, I feel that the silliness helps to illustrate the power of word choice in communicating images to a reader. We discussed what the sentences would sound like without using strong words and my kids definitely preferred sentences with a variety of well-thought words. My hope is to carry these discussions over to our composition lessons.
Here are my ideas for using this book in your home. I hope you find these suggestions helpful!
1. Use a chapter at a time in tandem with your core language arts curriculum. The chapters are short enough reads that you could use this to introduce and/or wrap-up a topic.
2. Take a pause in your regular lessons to spend a few days in a topic that your child is struggling to master. If I were having a hard time in language arts, I’d love it to sit with Mom, read a chapter of this delightful book and give some verbal examples of my own.
3. Copywork! As I mentioned, these little stories are super engaging. I think my kids would enjoy copying and providing their own illustrations for them. If you’d like to take it a step further, you could have your child copy the sentences as is, then ask them to replace the highlighted parts of speech with their own words.
4. Let your kiddos practice reading aloud with this book. One of the BEST ways to allow your child to master a topic is to let them “be the teacher.” As them to practice reading and then “teach” you or a sibling.
5. Build vocabulary skills! The variety and richness of word choice provides many new words for kiddos at this level. Take the opportunity to add many great words to their vocabulary bank.
Those are my thoughts, friends! Have you used this little gem in your home? Please leave your Word Fun ideas below so that I can learn from you.