Thursday, August 20, 2015

Learning from Picture Books - How to Read a Story

This is the perfect book to read this fall to lead into a discussion about how to look at and read books in the library or classroom. But it's also a great book to give as a gift for a new parent who might be wondering how exactly to model reading while having fun with their child. 

Kate Messner, Mark Siegel
Here’s the summary from Amazon:

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

Accomplished storytellers Kate Messner and Mark Siegel chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and—finally—coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.

How to Read a Story was written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Mark Siegel, published by Chronicle Books, 2015.

My thoughts as a writer:

You’d think that a story about how to read a story would be a little dull, but this book is quite entertaining. It’s a good example of a book that uses a numbered step structure. Notice that this kind of structure helps propel you to turn the pages, to see what the next step is going to be.

I liked the illustrations because they were clear and would be great for viewing from a small distance in a group read aloud. The main character's reading buddy provides a lot of humor and interest. 

My thoughts as a teacher:

I love finding books that can be used in many different ways in the classroom. This book models procedures (Step 1, Step 2, etc.), how to read with a buddy, and also some strategies for reading, such as making predictions.

I decided to purchase this book for my personal collection, since it would be a great lead-in to a discussion on how to look at books in a classroom.

For another take on this book, visit This Kid Reviews Books.  

Themes: reading strategies, reading with a buddy,  procedures

Ages: 4 – 7

Grades: preschool - 2

Follow-Up Activities:

1. Choose a favorite book, find a buddy and read together!
2. Write out steps for something you like to do.
3. With a partner, make a poster for one of the steps for reading from the story.
4. Draw pictures in speech or thought bubbles to show something you found inside a book.


  1. I've always thought we can learn a lot from picture books, but this one sounds truly educational, without being stuffy. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Andrea!

  2. I really like the concept behind this book and was very happy to find my library has a few copies so I put a hold on one.
    I can't wait to read it! Thank you, Andrea!

    1. So glad you could find it! I think it's a good one for a classroom.

    2. I've been meaning to tell you that I finally read this book and loved it! :)

  3. We are *huge* Messner fans in our house. Have you seen How to Teach a Slug to Read? Also cute - and effective.

    1. Oh, I need to find that one! Thanks for stopping by!


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