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Public Education Educator Resources Good Dog Carl

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to preview stories using illustrations as a guide and make comparisons of fiction and non-fiction information.


Grade Levels



Common Core Standard

With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).


Materials Needed

A Familiar Book

“Good Dog Carl” by Alexandra Day

3-5 Books from the “Carl” series by Alexandra Day

Picture Walk Graphic Organizer

Computer with internet access (for teacher)




  • Call students together and explain that you will be showing them a picture walk.
  • Show the students a book that you have recently read to the class. Ask them to talk about what they see on the cover.
  • Open the book and show them the pictures. Flip through the book from beginning to end and have students describe what is happening on each page.
  • At the end of the book, point out to students that they have just told the whole story without reading any of the words.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling

  • Next, take out the book “Good Dog Carl” by Alexandra Day. Show the students the cover of the book and ask them to describe what they see. What do they think this book will be about? Just from looking at the picture of Carl, what might they know about Carl?
  • Explain to the students that a good pre-reading strategy is to do research before reading a book. Spend some time discussing the attributes of a Rottweiler, Carl’s breed. You may choose to display your computer screen or print resources to share with the students. These can be found here: AKC Rottweiler
  • Slowly flip through the book, giving students plenty of time to observe the illustrations and explain what they think is happening in the story.
  • After students have finished going through all of the pictures, ask them to describe what they think the story was about.
  • Extension: For older or more advanced students, ask them to consider what they learned about Rottweilers. List some of their ideas on the board. How is Carl’s behavior similar to what we learned about Rottweilers? How is it different?
  • Explain to students that what they just did is called a picture walk. A picture walk is when you go through the story and look at the pictures instead of reading the words. How might a picture walk be useful when reading a book?

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling

  • As a class or in small groups, have students brainstorm a list of questions or things they should look for when going on a picture walk. Prompt students to think about Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? while they are going on their picture walks.
  • Break students up into partners or small groups. Give each group a book from Alexandra Day’s “Carl” series and a copy of the graphic organizer.

Independent Working Time

  • Students should work in partners or small groups to go on their own picture walks. Instruct them to figure out what is happening in the story. Have students jot notes about their book on the graphic organizer.
  • Extension: Have them compare Carl’s appearance and behavior in the story to that of a Rottweiler as described on AKC’s website.

Review and Closing

  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to think about their picture walks: What was their book about? What was something they learned about Carl? Did anyone disagree about what was happening in the book and how did you work it out?
  • Once students have had a chance to share, remind everyone about the important role illustrations have in providing a visual of the important moments in a story. Encourage students to go on a picture walk when choosing books out of the library or deciding what they might like to read. Remind students that one way to figure out a word they may not know how to read is by looking at the pictures in the book.



Day, A. (1996). Good Dog Carl. New York, NY. Little Simon.

Rottweiler. (n.d.). Retrieved from