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Lesson Plan #: AELP-RDG0020
Submitted by: Matthew Dicks
Email: mattyd@snet.net
School/University/Affiliation: St. Joseph College
Endorsed by: St. Joseph College
Date: November 11, 1998

Grade Level(s): 1, 2


  • Language Arts/Reading

Overview: Emergent readers need as many strategies as possible in order to determine meaning in the material they read. Oftentimes emergent readers will look at the pictures in a story, read the words, but fail to make the connection between the two parts while struggling for comprehension. Therefore, the use of picture clues should be stressed as a valid and effective strategy by which emergent readers can successfully uncover meaning.

Goals: Students will learn to use picture clues as a valid and effective strategy in reading comprehension.

Objectives: Students will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the value of visual clues in reading comprehension by writing a story that is dependent upon pictorial representations for meaning.
  • Accurately decipher meaning in short passages by using the picture clues provided.
  • Identify visual clues in a variety of children’s literature.
  • Materials:

    • Paper pre-set in comic strip boxes
    • Crayons or markers
    • Yo! Yes! by Chris Raschka
    • Reading Comprehension worksheets


    • Ask students to draw a comic strip representing several scenes from morning recess, written in chronological order.
    • Decipher several comic strips for the class, emphasizing that each comic strip tells a story using only pictures.
    • Explain that the illustrations of a story are sometimes as important as the story itself, and that using the illustrations to improve comprehension is recognized as an effective and valid reading strategy.


  • Read Yo! Yes! by Chris Raschka to the class. Do not allow the students to see the pictures or the cover while you are reading the story. Use appropriate inflection while reading, but do not use different voices for the two characters.
  • When finished, ask the students to elaborate upon what they think the story was about. Highlight any differences in opinion amongst the students. Explain that Yo! Yes! is an excellent example of a story that actually needs the pictures in order for its readers to fully comprehend. Explain that stories like this demonstrate how effective the use of visual clues can be in reading comprehension.
  • Re-read Yo! Yes! , showing the pictures to the students as they read. When finished, ask students to elaborate upon what they think the story was about. Highlight the similarities in opinions this time.
  • Using a new piece of comic strip paper, ask students to write a quick, six scene story that is dependent upon both words and pictures in the formation of meaning.
  • Share several stories with the class, highlighting the importance of the illustrations in determining meaning.
  • If there is time, ask students to share their stories with a partner.
  • Close:

    • Ask the students to look through the classroom library for a book in which illustrations could be used in determining meaning.
    • Ask several students to share the book they have chosen with the class, explaining how the pictures might aid in comprehension. The teacher may have to model the first story.
    • If there is time, ask students to share their choices with a partner while explaining how the illustration might aid in comprehension.


    • Evaluate the students stories by determining if the illustrations serve as effective visual clues to the story’s meaning.
    • Evaluate students accuracy in completing the reading comprehension worksheets assigned as homework.
    • Using anecdotal notes, evaluate students use of visual clues while reading on a daily basis.

    Learning Strategies For Additional Teaching:

    • For students who experience difficulty with the concept of visual clues, select several stories that include challenging vocabulary words that are identified through the story’s illustrations. Ask the students to read these stories, either independently, in shared reading, or as part of a reading circle. As they read, ask them to use the illustrations to determine the meaning of the new vocabulary words.
    • Allow the students to read through their classmates stories, looking for ways in which their illustrations help improve comprehension.
    • Create additional worksheets like those assigned for homework, so students can continue to practice using this strategy.