Picture walks are a pre-reading strategy that will allow your child to become familiar with the story, activate his or her prior knowledge, and make predictions. They will also help you to gauge your child's interest in the story, gain insight into his or her comprehension of the story, and identify possible vocabulary words that might need to be learned.
Basically, a picture walk involves showing the child the cover of the book and each of the illustrated pages in order and discussing what the child sees. Invite the student to pay attention to the characters, the scene (setting), and any objects in the story. Encourage predictions about what is happening in each picture and what will happen throughout the story. Remember to let the child form his or her own ideas about the story, but ask questions to help extend the child's thinking. Students will then be more motivated to read the story to determine if the predictions were correct. Picture walking also helps activate the child's background knowledge, which allows him or her to make connections to his or her own life and to other familiar stories. This improves comprehension and story retention. The child will also gain confidence as he or she can begin to understand the story before having to tackle the text.
What if your child is no longer reading picture books? This same concept can be extended to looking at the various text features, such as chapter headings, captions, or any sidebar information.