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How Important Are Picture Books in Shaping Your Child’s Mind?

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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.

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Benefits of Reading to Children Before Bed

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Many read to their child because storytelling before going to sleep feels like a tradition. If your parents read to you as a child, chances are you want to do the same with your own kids.

You remember how good it felt to have your mom or dad spend time with you just before you slept. You might even still remember the books they read to you word-for-word and the different voices they used to portray the different characters. Because storytelling before bedtime as a child has left you with so many fond memories of your youth, you want to share that same feeling with your children.

But beyond tradition and bonding with your kid, reading to your kids before bedtime has proven to have many benefits. Here are 6 reasons why reading books to your kids before bed is great for them:

  1. Encourages the Love of Reading

    Kids establish a love of reading when they are read to. When children are introduced to books early on, they start to identify them as sources of fun and adventure. Later in life, they realize that books are also full of knowledge.
  2. Develops Communication and Language Skills
    When you read stories to your children, you’re also helping them develop their communication skills, listening abilities, and memory. The more books you read, the more you strengthen their vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure.
    According to Time.com, brain scan study found that “reading at home with children from an early age was strongly correlated with brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language.”
  3. Improves Attention 

    As you read aloud, kids try to imagine the scenes in their minds, forcing them to pay attention. Reading stories to your children invites engagement. As you read along and the story unfolds, you will find them agreeing or disagreeing with the storyline. They become involved in the plot and want to chime in with their opinions and objections. A good story can get kids involved, improving attention and ability to focus.

  4. Prepares Them to Be Better Students 

    According to PBS.org, “the more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten, the more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school.”

  5. Sparks the Imagination 

    Reading to your child introduces them to new ideas, concepts, and experiences. Stories plant seeds of creativity in their minds and fuels the imagination. The more stories kids listen to, the more innovative, imaginative, and creative they become.

  6. Promotes Better Sleep 

    When kids watch a scary movie before sleeping, they’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night with bad dreams.When you read to your kids before bedtime, the bonding established through reading and engaging creates a comforting feeling that promotes better sleep. And if you read their favorite stories, your children will go to sleep happy and calm and less likely to have nightmares.

    At Progressive Rising Phoenix, we are advocates for reading to your children before bedtime. Progressive Rising Phoenix Press offers a wide variety of children’s chapter books. Many have educational study guides available. Our award-winning children’s chapter books titles include educational, suspense, action, adventure, fantasy, and more!