Teaching Beginner ELLs with Picture Books: Tellability


  • Ana Lado Marymount University




ELLs, ESOL, TESOL, Communicative Language Teaching, Picture Books, Tellability, Instructional Conversation, Language Experience Approach (LEA), Beginner ELLs


Tellability is applied to selecting pictures books with features that mirror the types of adaptations used by language teachers. These books provide students with scaffolds for comprehension, expression, language-focused study, and fluency. The report features a Language Experience Approach lesson using a picture book with tellability.

Author Biography

Ana Lado, Marymount University

Dr. Ana Lado is a professor of education at Marymount University in Virginia and author of Teaching Beginner ELLs with Picture Books: Tellability.


Leveled Books for LEA cooking or craft projects.
Beginner English Level Cooking

Coffelt, N. (2003). What’s cookin’? San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. Bake a birthday cake.

Cousins, L. (1999) Maisy makes gingerbread. And Maisy makes lemonade (2002) Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. Make cookies or lemonade. For young students.

de Paola, T. (1978) Pancakes for Breakfast. New York, NY: Voyager Books. (A wordless picture book) Make pancakes.

Falwell, C. (2008) Feast for 10. New York, NY: Houghton. Plan a feast.

Vega, D. (2008) Build a Burrito: Counting Book in English and Spanish. New York, NY: Cartwheel. Make a burrito.

Early Intermediate English Level Cooking

Ehlert, L. (2004) A Pie in the sky. New York, NY: Scholastic. Bake a cherry pie.

Ehlert, L. (1991) Growing vegetable soup. New York, NY: Harcourt. Make soup.

Hill, M. (2002) Lets make tacos. New York, NY: Children’s Press. Make tacos.

Holub, J. (2001) The Pizza that we made. New York, NY: Puffin. Bake pizza.

Iwai, M. (2010) Soup Day. New York, NY: Henry Holt. Make soup. For young students.

Morris, A. (1993). Bread bread bread. New York, NY: Harper Trophy. Bake ethnic breads. Make a photograph book of breads.

Neitzel, S. (1997) The Breakfast we made for mother. New York, NY: Greenwillow. Cook breakfast.

Swain, G. (2002) Eating. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books. Make ethnic foods. Photographs and text is bilingual in English -Arabic, -Bengali, -Chinese, -Gujarati, -Punjabi, -Turkish, -Urdu, or –Vietnamese.

Thompson, L. (2007) The Apple pie that papa baked. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Bake an apple pie.

Vamos, S. (2011) The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred (Bilingual). Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. Make rice pudding.

Westcott, N. (1992) Peanut Butter and Jelly: A Play Rhyme. New York, NY: Hartcourt School. Make a sandwich.

Beginner English Level Crafts and Projects

de Vicq de Cumptich, R. (2000) Bembo’s zoo: An animal ABC book. New York, NY: Henry Holt. Draw animals using letters.

Emberley, E. (2006) Ed Emberley’s picture pie book. New York, NY: LB Kids. Make cut out drawings from circles.

Gisson, R. (1995) What shall I draw? Tulsa, OK: Edc Pub. Make a class book of drawings.

Lin, G. (2002) Kite flying. New York, NY: Alfred A Knopf. Make a traditional Chinese kite.

Luxbacher, I. (2008) 123 I can make prints. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. Make prints.

Pomeroy, D. (2000) One potato: A counting book of potato prints. New York, NY Voyager. Beginner level can make prints. Early intermediate level follow directions in the end pages.

Early Intermediate English Level Crafts and Projects

Ames, L. (2012) Draw 50 flowers, trees, and plants Make a class book of drawings. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill. For upper grades.

Bunting, E. (2001) Flower garden. (Spanish version available) Topeka, KS: Topeka Binding. Make a flower box.

Emberley, R. (2004) Piñata (Bilingual Spanish/English) New York, NY: L.B. Make a piñata based on the directions in the end pages.

Hall, M. (2011) The perfect square. New York, NY: Greenwillow. Make a new book. For upper grades.

Hall, M. (2009) My heart is like a zoo. New York, NY: Greenwillow. Make a new book.

Hall, Z., & Halpern, S. (1996) The Apple pie tree. New York, NY: Scholastic. Bake apple pie.

Gibbons, G. (1991) Monarch butterfly. New York, NY: Holiday House. Make a habitat for butterflies.

Gibbons, G. (1996) Recycle: A handbook for kids. New York, NY: Little Brown. Do recycling projects.

Neitzel, S. (1997) The House I’ll build for the wrens. New York, NY: Greenwillow. Build a bird house.

Baroni, Raphaël: "Tellability". In: Hühn, Peter et al. (eds.): The living handbook of narratology. Hamburg: Hamburg University. URL http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/article/tellability[view date:28 Jan 2014]

Labov, W. (1972). Language in the inner city: Studies in the Black English vernacular (Vol. 3). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Lado, A. (2012). Teaching beginner ELLs with picture books: Tellability. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. [companion web page with annotated book list]




How to Cite

Lado, A. (2015). Teaching Beginner ELLs with Picture Books: Tellability. GATESOL Journal, 24(2). https://doi.org/10.52242/gatesol.19



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