1) Pictures Books Engage Readers
A good picture book speaks to the heart and imagination of the child. The best are those that empower the child to think on their own; that encourage relationships with family, friends, and neighbors; and that inspire and encourage them to want to read another. The true joy for a child is when they can find themselves in the story, whether the character be a puppy, a space creature, or a human child. A young developing mind can learn much more from a picture and the voice of a reader in addition to written words only.
2) Picture Books Expand Vocabulary
Worried parents, pushing their child to pass mandated education tests, are demanding early chapter books and leaving behind the picture books, but have the parents read early chapter books? Have they compared picture book and chapter book vocabularies? Written in grade-appropriate vocabularies, chapter books are much less challenging to read and, often deal with everyday problems, rather than addressing more complex issues covered in well-written picture books. A child reading a picture book meant to be read by adults, will stretch their mind and imagination much further than by reading a standard chapter book.
3) Picture Books Enhance Learning
Removing art from reading is like removing art education from the schools, when studies have shown art educations improves test scores and leads to better grades in college. There’s much more in those pictures, than entertainment. If the old adage is true, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” I’m not sure removing them from books is a move in the right direction.
4) Picture Books Speak to Different Learning Styles
Studies have shown people learn through a dozen learning styles, one of which is through words. The trend towards earlier chapter books leaves behind readers who learn in ways other than words. Pictures develop the inner abilities and right brain thinking portions of our mind. They speak to many readers in ways that words cannot and help those readers enjoy the written word. This trend towards early chapter books leaves behind huge numbers of children. Some learners will always benefit from an accompaniment of pictures, for that’s who they are.
Research books, check your book stores, and scour your libraries for books that best stimulate your child to read. Find the stories with depth, find the stories that expand their understanding of the world, find the stories that develop their acceptance of differences, and find the stories that ‘speak’ to your child. These books will help lay in a foundation that will carry them through their adult life. Start with meaningful picture books, and enrich their heart and mind with their beauty.