I am linking up with Happydally to talk about my favorite read-aloud picture book!
I admit I have a bit of an addiction to children's picture books. I am also very particular about the picture books I purchase and use in my classroom. Illustrations are important. For my students, they can't be extremely abstract, since my kiddos rely a lot on pictures to understand the story. Repetition of words, phrases and/or ideas is also helpful, of course. Humor is always a good thing, too! My kiddos have a wicked sense of humor, sometimes!
I have to be especially careful of the books I choose, since though my kids function at a preschool level cognitively, and are all non-readers, they are pre-teens and teenagers in actual age and, a lot of times, socially. They understand when they are read something that is babyish. Illustrations really can't feature people who look like babies or preschoolers if my kids are going to take the story seriously. I try to avoid even a character called "Mommy," for example, since that's too "little kid" for their tastes. I do a lot of changing words around when reading aloud to make the story more age-appropriate, if necessary.
That said, one of our favorite stories is The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. It's a fairy tale for the "cool kid" crowd. My students and I love the funny illustrations, the Wolf's hilarious, indignant attitude at his predicament, and the twist on a familiar story! We read this story for fun, but also use it when we talk about same and different, fiction vs. nonfiction and retelling/comprehension skills.
I'd love to hear from any other teachers who struggle with a large gap between reading/comprehension levels and age-appropriateness.