Using Picture Books to Teach Literary Concepts in AP and Pre-AP English classrooms
Typically we think of picture books as texts to be used with younger students, but in our increasingly visual world they can be an invaluable tool to aid upper level students. Two picture books I use to teach students how to read closely for diction, tone, and point of view are Anthony Browne’s VOICES IN THE PARK and Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith’s THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS.
I use these texts at the beginning of the year with my AP English Literature students. Through the text and images students learn how to engage in close reading with a visually focused text that provides scaffolding in directing students how to examine author word choice to discern point of view, tone, and thus author purpose and meaning. Because they are picture books students, who often feel uncertain about being in AP English Literature, don’t experience the level of anxiety they can feel when approaching a typical AP level poem or passage.