Literacy Lenses

Focusing on The Literacy Work that Matters

Using Picture Books to Spark Collective Curiosity

By Amy Brennan

On March 22, 2018 #G2Great welcomed with immense excitement Peter Reynolds and Susan Verde as guest hosts to lead a discussion around using picture books to spark collective curiosity. Like most educators, picture books have been a sacred part of my professional and personal life. During my graduate school years as I studied literacy, my most adored professor started each class reading aloud a different picture book. With each book she told a carefully developed story that connected her to the book. When I began teaching I remember sitting in classrooms with my mentors and we just read picture books to each other, combing through our shelves and sharing our books. Our collaborations in dialogue developed from our connections to those books we shared, sparked creative curisosity for all of us. They lead us to share those books with others, just as when my professor read those books each week. Years later I recall sitting at a celebration for the end of a weeklong institute on reading at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. At that celebration they read-aloud Peter Reynolds’ Ish. This book was then shared back at my school and we all worked along with our students on living “ishfully ever after.”

Sparking Collective Curiosity

Peter Reynolds and Susan Verde joined together, just as so many other do –  to share in the collective curiosity that is sparked by picture books. Through their collaboration in creating their books they have SPARKED the COLLECTIVE CURIOSITY of so many others. Read the tweets below to see how they have enriched so many teaching lives.


Engaging Students in Powerful Picture Book Collaborations Through Dialogue or Creation

Collaborations can happen in dialogue or creation, and oftentimes collaboration leads to both. We can engage our students in read-aloud through accountable talk through partnerships and whole class grand conversations. When we invite students to share a book it helps to create a community. It builds a shared experience that potentionally expands from the classroom to each and every contact that each member of the classroom community has beyond the classroom.

Reading inspires writing. When we invite our students to listen with a writer’s mind it can spark the writing process for our students. Students can create their own writing pieces through reflection and connections that grow during the shared experience of reading a powerful picture book. These words, once written can change lives because the dialogue or creation that comes from sharing picture books can create waves of change that spread messages of hope, wonder, joy and peace.  

Books That Power Your Classroom Mission  

Picture books spark collective curiosity when they are shared, discussed and extended through creative expression. Peter Reynolds and Susan Verde have collaborated on several books that beg to be shared, discussed and extended. These collaborative creations have the power to spark our students to take action and make the world a better place.

Peter Reynold’s Website
Susan Verde’s Website