Saturday, June 6, 2015

Feeding Visual Literacy: Close-Up Photographs for Young Children

            Wow! That was my first response to the close-up photographs in Butterflies, Ladybugs, and Bees by Aaron Frisch.  So interesting! These pictures are amazing.

            Enough gushing. These books, part of the Seedlings series published by Creative Education, are perfect for young readers from preschool and beyond to explore the power of photographs to amaze and inform us. Each photo can be closely examined, inviting kids to share what they notice, what they think, and what they wonder. Chart, anyone?
            What I See                        What I Think                                 My Questions

            We can also discuss the relationship between words and photos. For example, on pages 8 and 9 of Butterflies we learn, "Butterflies have six legs and four wings. They have antennae on their heads.” We can check this information against photos of two different butterflies supplied on this two-page spread.

            Close-up photos also “show” texture, while the text appeals to our senses. We are told that butterfly wings are soft. The photo clearly suggests this. Other sentences in the book appeal to our senses of sight and taste. This helps us understand the world of the butterfly.

            At the end of the book, there are clearly labeled photographs of butterflies, showing the different body parts. Most of the labels are not words used in the text (i.e., proboscis, abdomen, forewing, hind wing), but provide further opportunity to learn how to talk about the parts of the butterfly by simply discussing these pictures.

            As other reviewers have pointed out, these books also introduce young readers to nonfiction features. You can find a table of contents, glossary, additional sources to read, websites, and an index. But for me, the shining star of these books is the photography, which invites and rewards careful looking.


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