Picture books may seem simplistic. They contain illustrations, less text than a typical book or novel, and are meant for a young audience who either cannot read yet or have basic reading skills.
While picture books seem straightforward and uncomplicated, they are a surprising source of benefits for your child. You might look at a picture book and think they’re nothing more than drawings or pictures of whimsical characters and imaginary scenarios. However, these visuals play a critical role in learning, teaching kids how to make references, and develop self-awareness.
The interaction that young readers have with picture books is perhaps the most important aspect of all. Open up a picture book for your child, and they instantly glow with enthusiasm. They look at the pictures almost as they would watch a movie. They analyze a scene and without knowing how to read, tell you how the story plays out. And when you read the text, they associate the words with the illustrations. The pictures allow them to follow the story and give meaning to what you are reading.
The right picture book promotes participation and imagination. They even help children develop self-awareness. According to Reading is Fundamental, “Long before they can read, children respond to images in an effort to place themselves and the others in their lives into the world around them.”
There’s also no question that young kids love art. Why else do children love drawing, finger-painting, and coloring? Picture books develop a deeper appreciation for art in kids who can look at a beautifully illustrated picture book and instantly recognize the different colors, art styles, and visual interpretations of the narrative.
Picture books also strengthen visual thinking skills, allowing kids to connect how they reason with what they observe. As you read and look at the illustrations together, your child links concepts with words.
All the excitement surrounding picture books is what ultimately lead young kids to want to read for themselves. Picture books introduce children to the concept of reading as they fixate on the graphic elements and make the association that the words describe the illustrations. For children, it’s exciting to realize that they can read a description of something to better understand what is happening in the images.
When kids follow along to your reading, and you take time to pause and appreciate the pictures, children develop story sense. The learn about the beginning, middle, and end of a story. And because they understand that stories have an introduction, a plot or point, and a conclusion, they become better storytellers and communicators.
Many parents turn to picture books to help them introduce complex concepts in a safe environment. Without taking your child out of their comfort zone, you can teach them about the world and difficult subject matters. The right picture book can introduce your child to realities that may be challenging to explain. Children tend to understand concepts better when accompanied by a relatable story and visuals.
At Progressive Rising Phoenix, we love how picture books are shaping young minds. We have picture books that are entertaining and often interactive and educational. Some even teach dual foreign languages. We also have seasonal books and books that help children cope.