if you were to pop in on an early elementary parent-teacher conference – particularly one involving a child on the autism spectrum – you might overhear the following conversation…
parent: “Johnny is an amazing reader! He has been reading since he was three!”
teacher: “I would agree that Johnny is an excellent decoder. He is able to use letter sounds to read words – even novel words. However, Johnny does not yet read with comprehension.”
the teacher is challenging us to think about what it means to “be able to read” in a more comprehensive way. reading is of course more than flashcards and workbooks. reading is about stories. one incredible teacher – a true inspiration – introduced me to the concept of the picture walk. and the very first book we wandered through was Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins.
without (much) text as a guide, the children had the opportunity to make predictions and draw their own conclusions. though they did not decode a single word, they truly read the story. one could not ask for a better activity to support a child’s acquisition of comprehension skills.
biehus invites you to explore the list of wordless or nearly wordless books complied for the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison and to take a picture walk with a child this week.