1st Edition

Developing Children's Critical Thinking through Picturebooks A guide for primary and early years students and teachers

By Mary Roche Copyright 2014
    210 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This accessible text will show students and class teachers how they can enable their pupils to become critical thinkers through the medium of picturebooks. By introducing children to the notion of making-meaning together through thinking and discussion, Roche focuses on carefully chosen picturebooks as a stimulus for discussion, and shows how they can constitute an accessible, multimodal resource for adding to literacy skills, while at the same time developing in pupils a far wider range of literary understanding.

    By allowing time for thinking about and digesting the pictures as well as the text, and then engaging pupils in classroom discussion, this book highlights a powerful means of developing children’s oral language ability, critical thinking, and visual literacy, while also acting as a rich resource for developing children’s literary understanding. Throughout, Roche provides rich data and examples from real classroom practice.

    This book also provides an overview of recent international research on doing ‘interactive read alouds’, on what critical literacy means, on what critical thinking means and on picturebooks themselves.

    Lecturers on teacher education courses for early years or primary levels, classroom teachers, pre-service education students, and all those interested in promoting critical engagement and dialogue about literature will find this an engaging and very insightful text.

    1. Critical Thinking and Book Talk’ - The ‘why’ factor  2. Comprehension, making meaning, literacy, critical thinking and critical literacy  3. Interactive, or dialogic, reading aloud  4. A focus on oral language development  5. Some picturebook theory  6. Critical Thinking and Book Talk in the Classroom  7. Practical advice  8. Conclusion


    Mary Roche is Senior Lecturer in Education at St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, Ireland.


    "This book is exactly what it claims to be on the cover – it is a well-mapped guide for classroom teachers, students or parents who are looking for ways to engage young students in reading activities that will develop their critical literacy and their critical thinking skills. […] I would recommend this book to all primary school teachers, as well as to second-level English and SEN teachers." – Jean Johnston, ILSA Quarterly

    "The voices of children and teachers, richly engaged with picturebooks, resound enthrallingly in this enthusiastic, thoughtful and superbly well-informed account of productive classroom practice." - UKLA Academic Book Award Panel

    "This book brings together into one voice the best of an academic, scholar and educational practitioner working to develop the quality of the educational experience for children in circumstances where values of humanity often seem to be, at best ignored, and at worst felt to be voilating contradictions" - Mary Huxtable, Educational Journal of Living Theories

    "I would cerntainly recommend this book for teachers eager to put their students at the heart of an authentic learning environment where teachers and pupils create and negotiate meaning together" - Duncan McCarthy, InTouch Magazine

    "Mary Roche has created a bright, engaging, and academically rigorous study of the powerful role that picture books play in the primary classroom. She has just been highly commended for its significant contribution to the teaching of English at the UKLA academic book awards. " - Martin Galway, Herts for Learning