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Lesson Plan

Picture Understanding! Building Comprehension in the Primary Grades With Picture Books

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Picture Understanding! Building Comprehension in the Primary Grades With Picture Books

Grades 1 – 3
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 35- to 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Comprehension is an essential component of successful reading. Through modeling and progressive levels of independent work, students become aware of the importance of retelling and essential story elements. Students demonstrate their understanding of stories through the use of online interactive graphic organizers and present story elements of an individual book through a book talk.

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Plot Diagram: This interactive tool provides a template for students to record information about what occurs in the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

Cube Creator: The Story Cube within this interactive tool allows students to record information about story elements (such as character, setting, conflict, and resolution) and then to print the information in a story cube.

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Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Lapp, D. (2009). In a reading state of mind: Brain research, teacher modeling, and comprehension instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Through the use of modeling, students can be guided toward independence. The “cognitive load” transitions from the teacher completing most of the work to the students completing the work independently.

  • Graphic organizers draw readers’ attention to important information and help readers draw connections between these ideas, making them useful tools for comprehension. However, graphic organizers should not be the end goal of instruction.

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