The Importance of Picture Books…
In this modern age when there is so much pressure on being the best at everything, some parents are in a rush to move on from picture books to chapter books. The belief is that in doing this, they will improve their child’s reading ability and language skills. The harder the book, the more advanced the reader, right? Not necessarily.
Picture books play a vital part in a child’s development and we must not be in a rush to leave them behind, and here’s why…
They encourage bonding. Picture books play a vital role in how a parent and child bond. Don’t be in a rush to move away from books that you can enjoy together. It’s a special time that should be savoured.
They increase vocabulary. Even though chapter books have more words and therefore it’s assumed they add more range to your vocabulary, that’s not necessarily true. Your child won’t add a word to their vocabulary that they don’t understand. A picture book backs up the meaning of a word. In addition, a good illustration can often show more meaning and more emotion that the text can, which does more to enhance a child’s vocabulary than a black and white word in a chapter book.
They enhance listening skills. Reading picture books with a child who can not yet read encourages and trains them to be a good listener. If the story is engaging, if the illustrations spark their imagination, they will pay more attention.
They develop analytical skills. Illustrations are there to back-up the words on the page. A child who enjoys picture books with develop a strong analytical mind as they enjoy searching the pictures for additional information that it not necessarily mentioned in the written word.
They develop a love of books. Picture books are exceptionally important for encouraging your child to have a love of books. Children who can not read can still enjoy the bright and engaging pictures even when a ‘reader’ is not around to read to them. They will enjoy the feel of a book, the magic of a book, and this will instill a love of books that can grow with them.
They boost imagination. If a child can not yet read, good illustrations can allow a child to make up their own story using their imagination.
They encourage phonemic awareness. Picture books often rhyme and this helps the child recognise similar sounds in different words.
They are FUN! Yes, that’s right. Picture books are fun! Reading should not be considered a chore. If a child is pushed to read chapter books too soon, and it’s too hard, they may start to resent reading and not find it enjoyable.
Picture books should also not be considered as being ‘just for little kids’ either. Even I, as a very late 30-something grown-up, learn more and absorb more from an illustrated piece of writing, magazine article or blog post. If I’m trying to learn or research something, I always veer more to items that are illustrated or accompanied by pictures. The same can be said for children growing up. Present a plain black and white research book or text book to a teenager and they will probably huff and grunt and begrudgingly read the book. Give them an illustrated research book and they will no doubt have much more fun which will increase their learning.
So please don’t be in a rush to push your child from the magic world of picture books. They will probably let you know when they want something more advanced or a ‘big people’s book’. They will not be at a disadvantage if you leave the picture books on the shelf for a bit longer.
If you need any new picture books in your life…check out our titles, all available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.
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