Picture books for children have become a great tradition over the last century. Most people couldn’t imagine a childhood without lots of beautifully illustrated books. However, many people think these types of books are not really that important. That they are just a stepping stone on the path to ‘real’ reading. While it is true that children must eventually move on to more sophisticated books, it is a mistake to think that picture books are just preparation for later reading. Here are 5 good reasons why:
Picture books stimulate the imagination
Allowing your child to travel to faraway places and to meet new characters and experience new things is a very important part of their mental development. A child who only knows the humdrum world of their own house has a real limitation when it comes to new situations. Developing imagination can be one of the most important things a child will ever do. It shapes their entire outlook on life and affects the decisions they will make in later years. Picture books are perfect for introducing your child to the world of creative thinking and fun that comes from having lots of imagination.
Books with pictures educate
It is no coincidence that picture books often deal with real life situations. Children are inexperienced in situations outside of their school and home. Story books that let them know what to expect in strange and sometimes frightening places can be a real boost to their confidence and ability to deal with new experiences. Stories about visits to the doctor, first days at school, airports etc are great for this. It is also interesting to note that fantastic characters and settings can be just as useful in this role. A great example would be Dr Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ a fantasy story that has been entertaining children and teaching them about environmental misuse for many years.
Reading picture books develops literacy
This just shows that the belief that picture books prepare kids for later reading is not unfounded. One of the main purposes of picture books is to provide a simple format for young readers to practice reading skills. The pictures entice and entertain while the simple and often repetitive text provide much needed reading practice.
Reading picture books develops visual literacy
We live in a world that is composed of pictures and images much more than words. Training children to understand and ‘read ‘ imagery is one of the most important things we can do. Images can be used to manipulate and distort facts, to demean others and to destroy self esteem. Guiding children in how to read and understand visual imagery is extremely important and this process should begin in childhood.Story books lay the foundation for this all important developmental skill.
Picture books develop a love of reading
Reading can be one of the most important things your child will ever learn and one of the best ways to insure their future success. Kids who read are far more likely to stay in school and to earn significantly higher wages in their lifetime. They experience boredom less and have a far wider experience to draw on when dealing with problems. Nothing develops a love of reading more surely than a picture book habit in childhood.
For these reasons and for many others it is important that your child be reading story books every day. These days there are many options: traditional print books as well as Online Storybooks and books for mobile devices. Whatever type of storybooks you choose for your child ( a mixture is best of course) you’ll know that you are giving them the best head start that you can. Simply by letting your child do something they enjoy. Reading picture books.