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EDS 318: Literacy Methods: Home

How to find and use picture books with young children


Visuals for Finding Picture Books


Finding Picture Books

Finding picture books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

All of the picture books are organized by the author's last name. This makes it hard to find one on a particular subject. To do this, use the library's online search box:

  1. In the search box, type in a search term + fiction (this could be a subject or the author or illustrator's name)
  2. Before clicking on "Search", limit the results to the Curriculum Center by choosing it from the drop down menu
  3. Verify 2 things:
    1. That the book is available (and not already checked out)
    2. That the call # starts with "E" (followed by 3 letters which are the first 3 letters of the author's last name)
  4. Find the book in the picture book shelves
  5. You can check out any book downstairs at the Front Desk with your student ID.
  6. If you're finished with the book and don't want to take it with you, place it on the little red cart.

Troubleshooting: I can't find the book!

It happens that the book is not where it's supposed to be. Here are 3 troubleshooting tips:

  1. Look closely before and after where the book is supposed to be on the shelf. These books are misfiled easily.
  2. Look on the little red cart.
  3. Go downstairs to the Front Desk and ask if the book is in the back, waiting to be processed and re-shelved. 

Using Picture Books

Literacy Tips: engaging children with a picture book through conversation:

  1. Choosing a book: Encourage and communicate the joy of reading by choosing a picture book that you, as the reader, enjoy reading and sharing--either because the subject is one that you particularly like yourself, or you like the characters, or you like the author and/or illustrator's style. Your own engagement with the book will carry over to the child.
  2. Language skills: Practice reading the text out loud to yourself before you read it with a child. Finding ways to make the text interesting to listen to because of the way certain individual words sound, or the way they fit into the sentence or story, or the way they create rhythm, or change the pace, or repeat themselves are ways that you, as the reader, can make the child pay attention and build their phonological awareness by understanding that words are made up of sound that create meaning.
  3. Sequence: After reading the book together, go back and explore the illustrations of the pages to see if the child can put together the story in the correct sequence of events and how they happened in the book. This may require a re-reading of a passage, but the goal is to pull out meaning in sequence. You could also stop the story at some chosen point and ask them to predict what they think is going to happen, as an informed guess, and why.
  4. Comprehension & Critical Thinking: Besides summarizing and sequencing, other ways to work on comprehension include comparing and contrasting, doing deeper dives into what and why characters do things in the story, questioning the character's actions or feelings, predicting, inferring, making connections, placing ourself in the story, and drawing conclusions to find the main idea/s.
  5. Illustrations: The illustrations in a picture book, for children just learning literacy, hold the key to the way they understand stories. The use of space on the page, character's expressions, unwritten details and other clues are things that children will pick up on to extract more meaning. 
  6. Empathy & Compassion: Stories make us engage with the characters. Stories are both windows, allowing us to see out into the different lives of others, and miroirs, where we can see ourselves reflected in the story. Reading can create community through conversation, sparking joy in learning about others and establish true joy in reading. 

Engagement & Curriculum Collection Librarian

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Teri Holford
277 Murphy Library

Online Teacher Resources

Brightly: Compare and Contrast with Children's Books


Brightly is an educational literacy site for parents, teachers and all educators. Find children's books along with engaging activities and lessons. Use the "popular topics" to find a subject area. As an example of what this site offers, here is a link to selected children's books about germs

Choices Program Brown University


The Choices Program from Brown University offers innovative, researched based K-12  educational curriculum on international issues that give more perspective for students. The content associates history with current issues and encourages analytical thinking. 


Educators 4 Social Change


Educators 4 Social Change offers resources for educators to encourage civic responsibility with their students. Here is a list of digital teaching tools they recommend. 

Girls Garage


Girls Garage is a nonprofit design and building program and dedicated workspace for girls and female-identifying youth ages 9-18. Founded in 2013, Girls Garage is the first-ever design and building workshop for female youth in the United States. See the link here for distance programming and projects. 

GoNoodle: Mindfulness & Movement


GoNoodle is a site that engages kids with free monthly videos on mindfulness and movement. Created by child developmental experts, searchable categories are physical awareness, socio-emotional health, and academic success. 

Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) UW Madison

The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) is a unique research library of examination, study, and research for Wisconsin school and public librarians, teachers, early childhood care providers, university students, and others interested in children’s and young adult literature. The CCBC is part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, and receives additional support from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The CCBC is especially known for its support of gathering information for teachers facing book bans, and promoting diversity statistics in the publishing industry of children's books. 

The CCBC has a searchable database of recommended books.

Graphic Novels in the Classroom


The Cult of Pedagogy is a blog for teachers that covers many things for teacher nerds, the craft of teaching and pedagogy in general (instruction, classroom management, technology) and many many other topics. There is a post about using graphic novels in the classroom here. 


Khan Academy


The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization that offers a large set of tools to educate students. Videos and other teaching exercises and activities are found here. Here is a page to start searching by age, class, subject, etc.

NASA At Home


NASA at Home has many online tools to engage people of all ages: e-books, virtual tours, apps, podcasts, videos, and a special site for kids about space and STEM including games, coloring pages, books online, problems to solve, and construction projects. There is also a tab for teachers, parents and anyone interested in education and space. 

National Geographic for Kids

National Geographic Kids logo


National Geographic Kids offers games, videos, teaching activities and more.

The New York Times Learning Network

The New York Times Learning Network is an online portal to educational resources for older students and teachers. Designed to "bring the world into the classroom" this site uses articles published in the NYT and offers educational activities for students (quizzes, contests, daily lessons, writing prompts, photos and videos, student opinions) and teacher resources plus tips on how to use the site

NPR Education


NPR Education has interesting educational ideas to engage older students with learning about current issues. Here is a link with examples of how to engage children with climate change

ParentPal Teaching Strategies


Teaching Strategies has educational resources for educators, parents, and all child care workers. They have opened up their content free during the confinement to keep children engaged and learning. Click on ParentPal for more information and teaching sources. 

PBS Learning Media


The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has a site of free organized educational tools based on your state and its educational standards. Start by choosing your local station at the top, which will associate state standards with activities, or simply browse by subject. 

Rethinking Schools


Rethinking Schoolsbased in Milwaukee, WI, is a site of educational tools created by teachers concerned with equity issues in education and to the vision that public education is central to the creation of a humane and multiracial democracy. While writing for a broad audience, Rethinking Schools emphasizes problems facing urban schools, particularly issues of race.

Stanford SPICE Program


The SPICE program (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education) serves as a bridge between Stanford University and K-12 schools and community colleges by developing multidisciplinary curriculum materials on international themes.

undefined is an online database provided by Murphy Library that can be used by teachers, students, librarians, and families to explore children's books and young adult literature and their authors. The database provides access to educational materials and programs (short movies, audio book readings, book discussion guides). UWL members will need to provide netID and password to gain access. Here is a link to a few tutorials on how to use the different features they offer including a quick introductory video, how to create customized reading lists, how to create an educator login, sharing resources, the Chrome Extension, and other archived webinars on other subjects (book groups, literature circles, cultural representation in literature, multi-leveled lessons, "fresh ideas", English language learners) and much more!

Teaching for Change


Teaching for Change is a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. with the motto of "building social justice, starting in the classroom." This organization uses publications, professional development, and parent organizing programs to accomplish their goal. You can find teaching resources here. Recommended books here

Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance)

Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance) is a non-profit educational organization that designs teaching tools that create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants. Teaching Tolerance emphasizes social justice and anti-bias, which encourages children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives. Classroom resources, professional development, and articles for discussion are found here. 



 TED Ed is working with expert educators and TED speakers throughout the world to create and share high-quality, interactive, video-based lessons on a daily basis, for free. 

U.S. Government Ben's Guide


Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government is a service of the Government Publishing Office about the Federal Government for kids, teachers, parents and anyone who works with children. Here is a page with new games and activities recently added (May 2020). 

We Are Teachers


We Are Teachers is a site for teachers, parents, and anyone looking for online teaching support resources for remote education. Classroom ideas, free printables by subject and grade. 

Zinn Education Project


The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in classrooms across the country. For more than ten years, the Zinn Education Project has introduced students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. Find and select teaching materials by time period, resource type, grade level here