I remembered when I was in the classroom and the commonwealth adopted the VGLA. The VGLA is an alternate assessment the commonwealth adopted to track students with disabilities. With No Child Left Behind, states were force to create ways to prove that students with disabilities were learning. In any regards, I wrote stories to teach comprehension, included them in VGLA packets, and submitted the packets to the state for grading. I was good at writing stories. Other teachers in the regular education classroom asked to use the stories to teach skills that were assessed on the regular SOL.
At the time, I was not aware that the stories I wrote had similar structure to Picture Books. I learned that from my students when she compared a story I wrote to a picture book I read to the students one morning to introduce a lesson. The truth is, since I read so many picture books, I was not aware that I possess the keys to unlocking the Picture Book safe. It could be the fact that I was introduced to picture books as a grown woman with a child of my own.
So here is the definition of a picture book. A picture book is more than a “book with pictures.” These are the characteristics of a true picture book according to Tracey E. Dils.
TRACEY’S Words JACKIE’S Words
*Picture books unleash our imagination They set us free
*They comforted us/lulled us to sleep The make me feel free
*There is a simple joy in opening it It is entertaining
*Many adults read it to their children Many adults read it and won’t admit it to their children
*Beautiful illustrations #AMAZING Illustrations
*Many writers submit picture book manuscript often Picture books are not easy to write.
**NOTE**: The competition is stiff. And I learned that the process can be overwhelming.