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Reading Buddy Insider – Book Introductions and the Picture Walk

One way we can set students up for greater success when reading is by introducing and previewing a book before beginning to read. Many students are familiar with the process of taking a few minutes before reading a new book to discuss what they are about to read; however, other students are so eager to begin that they skip this step entirely. Previewing a text before beginning to read helps build students’ context for what they are about to encounter, which in turn helps them read more accurately and with better comprehension. So even if your student is ready to jump right in to reading, help guide them through a brief introduction first.


What goes into a Book Introduction/Picture Walk?

  • Discuss the title and author/illustrator
  • Ask your student to make a prediction about what the book will be about, or for a nonfiction book, have your student share what he/she already knows about the topic
  • Preview the story/subject matter by looking at the pictures and asking your student to describe what they see
  • Point out important and challenging words in the text, especially the names of main characters


Frequently Asked Questions about Book Introductions

Q: How long should I spend on a book introduction?

A: The time spent will vary based on how long the book is and how much your student wants to share. It should be relatively brief, no more than a few minutes.

Q: Do you have to look at all the pages of the book before reading?

A: Again, the answer to this question will vary depending on student ability and attention span. For shorter, lower level texts (C-F) it is helpful to preview all the pages. For longer texts, preview a few pages before beginning to read will suffice.

Q: Does the tutor share during the book introduction or only the student?

A: Book introductions should be conversational in tone. As such you can share your own predictions and thoughts as well as you listen to your student’s responses. It may help to have your student share first, so they are not tempted to simply echo your responses.

Q: Do I need to do a book introduction if we re-read the book the next week?

A: No, the goal of the book introduction is to build context before tackling an unfamiliar text, you do not need to do a book introduction for books your student has previously read.

Mary Flannigan