Reading Picture Books using the Common Core Curriculum

Do you have a child that is preschool age or in kindergarten? How about just beginning 1st grade? Do you want to help carry over some skills that your child is learning in the classroom? Do it when reading books to your child!

These standards are for kindergarten but can be worked on with a older preschooler if they are ready. Many beginning first graders can find these helpful as well.

As a reference, I used the Common Core Standards Website, where I got tons of wonderful information. There are several things that I like about the Common Core Curriculum. I like the emphasis on literacy and text complexity across all subjects. I came across some interesting research articles when trying to learn more about the Common Core. In one article titled Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum, the authors discussed “how the Standards insist that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language be a shared responsibility within the school” (National Council of Teachers of English, March 2011).  The article discussed several examples of using reading and writing across the curriculum and provided strategies for teachers to make it easier and more appealing to use the curriculum within in their specific subject. I came across another article titled Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Technical Studies Research Supporting Key Elements of the Standards that stated how important “complexity of text is” within the curriculum. The article discussed the standards and the supporting research. It also gave some important information about grade level and complexity of text.

Although the curriculum is a shared responsibility at school, it is also a shared responsibility at home. The more we carry over these concepts that our children are learning at school, the more exposed they will become to it and therefore be more successful in the classroom.

I have an interesting perspective because both of my children are going through it as well. I see first hand how the Common Core is being incorporated into their day by the worksheets that come home with them on a daily basis. For example, my daughter brought home a worksheet the other day that discusses how to encourage critical thinking during reading time with your child and answer questions more accurately.

Here are 10 Ways to work on the Kindergarten Core Curriculum with your Child’s Favorite Picture Book

1. Ask your child to name the author and illustrator of the story and discuss the role of each.

2. Ask your child about a word that they do not recognize in the story. Write the word down and use it in a sentence they can understand. For example, when reading Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, I asked my son what “furious” meant. When he had trouble, I gave him two choices. Does it mean “mad” or “happy”?

3. Ask your child questions about details regarding the story. For example, in Jake Starts School, ask your child to tell you what his mom packed him for lunch the first day of school.

4. Ask your child to look at specific pictures within the story and have them discuss how it’s related to the text. For example, in Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It! ,ask your child to look at the picture of Betty Bunny and tell you what is going on in the story.

5. Compare the book you are reading to a similar book you read in the past. For example, when I recently read Willow, my daughter and I were able to discuss similarities with another book Ish. When reading Lyle Lyle Crocodile, we compared the character Mr. Grumps to Old Man Fookwire in Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin.

6. Ask your child to write the title of the book down to practice recognizing lower and upper case letters. Discuss how the letters are different from each other.

7. When reading a sentence in the book, discuss how you capitalize the first letter of the word beginning the sentence.

8. Point out different punctuation markers in the book. An excellent book to read discussing this concept is Exclamation Mark.

9. Relate the book you are reading to a life experience. For example, when reading Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It! ask your child if they ever didn’t tell the truth about anything. Discuss your own experiences with this concept.

10. Discuss categories as you are reading the book. For example, point out different foods within a book and how they may relate to a specific food group. When reading, Eat Healthy Feel Great, categorize the foods into green, yellow and green light foods.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Check out the Core Standards Website for more information here.


“Reading and Writing across the Curriculum.” National Council of Teachers of English (2011): 15-18. Web. <>.

“Appendix A.” Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Albany, NY: New York State Education Dept., 2011. N. pag. Print.

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