1st Edition

Developing Early Comprehension Skills Through Picture Book Talk A Step-By-Step Guide for the Early Years Foundation Stage

By Donna Thomson Copyright 2024
    276 Pages 51 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 51 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Developing Early Comprehension Skills Through Picture Book Talk demonstrates how strategic ‘picture reading’ and playful sensory learning can develop young children’s explicit and implicit comprehension skills, regardless of their decoding ability. Offering an inclusive teaching and assessment approach that aligns with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and supports the early adopter school initiative, it will help readers to guide children’s use of picture-reading-for-meaning strategies in preparation for more complex comprehension instruction in Year 1.

    The book also contains useful resources such as colour picture booklets and downloadable family workshop sessions to help guide parents in more effective ‘picture book talk’ at home. It offers corresponding steps for planning, teaching, and assessing children’s ‘picture book talk’, multisensory learning, self-questioning skills, and early reading for meaning. The methods and activities within this book specifically help to develop:

    • vocabulary (setting vocabulary, character vocabulary, general vocabulary)
    • communication and language skills
    • critical thinking and inference skills
    • metacognition (personal learning awareness)
    • self-confidence and self-regulation skills

    Providing examples of practice, photocopiable resources, and step-by-step guidance for teaching key comprehension strategies and early self-regulation skills, this book is essential reading for all those who work with young children and wish to encourage a love of reading.



    Part 1 – Theory: Early Reading Comprehension and Sensory Learning Instruction

    1. Introduction

    2. The ‘Developmental Bridge’: from reading pictures to understanding text

    3. Engaging the Senses to Make Meaning

    4. Teaching Children How to Think, Speak and Question (for themselves)

    5. Nurturing Family Reading and Learning (case studies)

    Part 2 – Putting Theory into Practice: Teaching and Reviewing Skills

    6. Planning Comprehension Activities Using Picture Books

    7. Assessment and Procedure (baseline, intermediate and end-of-reception year)

    Section 1: Planning assessment: EYFS reading goals and Year 1 comprehension objectives.

    Section 2: Assessment procedure: frameworks, marking and analysis.

    Part 3 - Reception Resources: Teaching and Assessing Comprehension skills.

    8. Foundation Teaching and Assessment Framework

    9. Teaching and Assessment plans, guidance, and resources (Units 1 – 4)

    Section 1: Pre-planned teaching sequences and activities (Units 1 – 4)

    Section 2: End-of-Unit review plans (Units 1 – 4)

    Section 3: Learning Support Resources: frameworks, graphic organisers, posters, picture booklets, graphic multisensory aids.

    Glossary and Index


    Donna Thomson is a primary reading skills specialist, researcher, and educational author with a background in SEN, reading recovery, and early literacy skills development. She is also the founder of Think2Read, an e-learning not-for-profit platform which offers primary schools early inference skills teaching and assessment provision for all abilities.

      This accessible book, underpinned by theory, offers foundation stage practitioners a practical and engaging approach to developing young children’s comprehension skills, using picture fiction and multisensory tools. Reading for meaning, metacognition and booktalk are highlighted throughout and there is rich support for leading parent workshops in a manner which engages and informs. Packed with guidance, activities, book recommendations and evidence of the benefits of the approach, this is a book for all adults who want to develop their instructional skills teaching and support our youngest readers.

      Teresa Cremin, Co-Director of Literacy and Social Justice Centre

      To be able to read, to really read, is to explore, to learn, to laugh, to cry, to feel, be and to dream. To learn to really read, we need to ensure that our children love what they are doing and why. It is so much more than decoding the words on a page, it is to comprehend and to be able to immerse themselves in the context, the content and the meaning of the language. This is a special book, written by an EYFS expert for EYFS experts, but its relevance, its wisdom, pragmatism and resources are far more wide reaching. This is an impeccably researched work, filled with practical advice and approaches that will help all of our children discover the lifelong magic of reading. Thank you Donna.

      Dr Richard Gerver, President of The School Library Association.

      Donna Thomson offers teachers a wealth of strategies and resources intended to guide young readers on their journey to thinking and learning - and talking - through great picture books. This book is needed by any educator or parent who values children’s literature as a vehicle to help students to read, read, read.

      Larry Swartz, OISE, University of Toronto, author of Better Reading Now and Teaching Tough Topics

      One of those rare penny-drop moments that makes you look at the world through a new lens. Donna Thomson explores our history with pictures, dating back to cave drawings, and poses the question, have we missed a link in our early years’ learning steps?

      A beautifully crafted and comprehensively written guide, questioning what we think we know for sure.

      Donna has done an extraordinary job covering the wide scope of early years development of comprehension skills, leaving no stone unturned in her research. A fantastic read and one for every teacher and parent trying to build confidence and foundation skills in young people.

      Andrew Kay, CEO of World Literacy Foundation