Getting the Right Start

Getting the Right Start is IRW's newest initiative that aims to improve literacy skill development, connect reading with art and promote a love of books to help pre-K children get the right start in school.

What is it?

This child-centered initiative focuses on how to deepen the reading experience by viewing the picture book as an art form.

Getting the Right Start is a combination of The Whole Book Approach, developed by Megan Dowd Lambert and The Eric Carle Museum for Picture Book Art, and Visual Thinking Strategies. The combination of these approaches helps develop children's observation, imagination and vocabulary skills through story time and book-centered activities.

Armed with a selection of picture books that represent the best in each category (Format, Endpapers, Front Matter, Gutter, Typography, Medium and Style), our wonderful Getting the Right Start volunteers are working in schools and childcare centers to engage children with picture books.

Simple Tips for Engaging Kids with Picture Books

  • Start with the title of the book and the names of the author and illustrator. Tell your child about each job.
  • Look underneath the book jacket; what do you see? What can you infer from the cover?
  • Is the shape of the book long, tall, square or something else? Ask your child they think the publisher chose this shape.
  • Examine each illustration. Ask your child if they think they know what will happen next based on the pictures.
  • Look at the size, shape and colors of pictures and text. What do you notice? Why would the illustrator choose to make them like this?
  • Check out the gutter (the space where the pages meet); what do you see there?
  • Allow time for conversation, observations and and questions. Don't rush through!

Activity Sheets

Click here for a list of suggested activities to pair with popular and wonderful children's books.