Why use Picture Me Reading?


Studies highlight the improvement in mastery of high frequency words when pictures are used, such as Arlin, M., Scott, M. & Webster, J. (1979); Meadan, H., Stoner, J.B., Parette, H.P. (2008) and Hedenius, M., Ullman, M.T., Alm, P.A., Jennische M. & Persson, J. (2013).

There are also numerous studies supporting the importance of mastering high frequency words, in conjunction with learning decoding skills, including Hudson, R.F., Torgesen, J.K., Lane, H.B. & Turner, S.J. (2012); Ferkis, M.A., Belfiore, P.J. & Skinner, C.H. (1997); Browder, D.M. & Lalli, J.S. (1991); l. Browder, D.M. & Spooner, F. (2011).  

Many of the high-frequency words cannot be decoded by means of basic phonics – i.e. they, could, one, etc. Picture Me Reading helps children master high frequency words more efficiently.
Visualization skills

Thomas Armstrong of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development has written a great deal about multiple intelligences.  He highlights the richly imaginative visualization skills that children have before they enter formal education.

If you say “chair” a young child will instantly imagine a picture of a chair.

That picture can be turned in different ways, but it is still a chair.

Then they arrive at school and are told that  b  makes one sound and  makes another, and then they are introduced to  p  and  q.

These are symbols for sounds which change depending on their direction. Some of the symbols have more than one sound, and many change their sound if they are put beside another symbol!  Then they must look at the symbols together and work out what words they represent. Many children easily make the transition to abstract conceptualization and left-to-right symbolic visual analysis and auditory synthesis (which is what we are asking children to do when we tell them to “sound it out”!) 

but some do not.

Suddenly,“Spatially intelligent children who have a flair for imaginative experience … become strangers in a strange land of barren symbols and ciphers.” Armstrong, T.A., In Their Own Way, 2000.

The good news is…

Children who recognize on sight eight out of ten words in a sentence can read most of that sentence and, generally (through context clues, phonics or illustrations) can determine the unrecognized words.  Also, and most importantly, they can better comprehend what they are reading than if they have laboriously sounded out each word.

Most children start school recognizing their own name.  Why is that?  Their name belongs to them.  It is so familiar to them that it is unnecessary for them to sound it out.  They just know it.

This familiarity is what Picture Me Reading brings to high-frequency words.  They take ownership of these words because they no longer see them as random symbols but as a representation of a concept that they understand and that is part of their world.

As soon as children have mastered a few phonetically regular words using Picture Me Reading, starting to teach phonics generalizations based on these words becomes much simpler because the words are as familiar to them as their own name.

Another reason to use Picture Me Reading is that it is fun!  Children love adding to their pack of mastered words, playing games to reinforce the learning, finding their mastered words in written material and showing friends and family their newly-acquired skill.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, Dolch words comprise between 60% and 85% of the text in children’s early reading materials.  Fluent readers only sound out words they do not already know by sight.  Children who have mastered Dolch words can read with fluency and confidence, focusing on comprehension, and only decoding the words they don’t already know.

Here’s an example of the high number of Dolch words in books for young readers (highlighted in yellow) –

Picture Me Reading helps learners master high frequency words quickly, whether or not they have yet acquired phonics decoding skills.  

We are confident that you will find Picture Me Reading an invaluable tool to help you put your early readers on the road to literacy!