Tuesday, 20 March 2012

In the picture- Anthony Browne

This week will be my first hosting of a twitter chat. Set up by a group of teachers and educators, #inthepicture aims to celebrate using picture books in the classroom in a variety of ways across the curriculum and age ranges.
Chats take place on Wednesdays from 8 til 9 pm and have covered a range of books so far including "Where the Wild Things are." and "One is a snail."
I have chosen the author and illustrator Anthony Browne  as my focus. http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/previous-laureates/anthony-browne/
 I have used a selection of his marvellous books with Y4 and 5 children to stimulate writing in class, as well as to read for pleasure.
This site showcases some of his illustrations

One of his more recent projects, the Shape game http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/previous-laureates/anthony-browne/shape-game/ looks fascinating and will be one to flag up tomorrow as I haven't used it (yet)

During the discussion I hope to flag up how I have used many of Pie Corbett's talk for writing techniques in my teaching.
http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/news_blogs/email_updates/interviews/pie_corbett and  http://www.cfbt.com/lincs/PDF/Talk%20for%20Writing%20Handout.pdf
One of the English units I teach is stories by the same author, and I would always get frustrated by having to choose sections of books and not having time to share the whole story with the children,  This is one of the strengths of choosing picture books; they are easy to finish with a class thus having the satisfaction of seeing a book through, and provide children with stories that they can use as a basis for their own retelling or continuations regardless of their reading ability.
This is in no way meant to infer that picture books are for the less able reader; Anthony Browne's books have so many meanings and sub plots that they are perfect for developing questioning skills, for inference and deduction,. What is not written is almost more powerful than what is (and in some cases most certainly is e.g. Zoo, Voices in the Park, The Tunnel, Into the Forest... the list goes on)

Here is a list of Anthony Browne books- apologies if I have missed any off the list. I have highlighted ones I have used; just a mere fraction of his work. If there are any omissions please let me know and I will amend.

I'm trying hard to advocate the idea amongst parents that picture books are valuable for older primary pupils. As part of our reading journal work, we encourage the children to read as wide a range of books as possible. Some parents have expressed their views about picture books being inappropriate for "able readers", but a book such as Zoo (Anthony Browne) has such a meaningful subplot (unwritten) which allows it to be interpreted differently by different ages/abilities.
 I have seen some stunning examples of work influenced by picture books and know they are an invaluabe addition to a primary classroom. Very much looking forward to #inthepicture and sharing ideas.

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