What is your oldest memory of holding a book and beaming with imagination? Perhaps it was a fairy tale your grandma read to you, or you flipped through a picture book and got lost in it’s colorful imaginative characters? For me, when I was 3 or 4 years old, I loved going through Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Rumpelstiltskin, over and over again until I had memorized all of the pages!
Though I haven’t picked up any of these book in over 3 decades, I can still remember some of the illustrations very clearly. They fanned my own imagination as I became an avid reader and started writing short stories and poetry in elementary school.
Some parents believe that picture books are a “starting point” in reading. Once kids show signs of advancement, they should be graduated to chapter books. But many librarians and educators disagree. Natalie Bernstein, a librarian at Paideia School in Atlanta said on WABE90.1/ NPR that kids from grades 1-5 should read picture books. Sure, checking out short picture books may mean taking more trips to the library, but certain picture books add a lot of value in many different ways.
Picture Books Encourages You to Think – Picture books can take you to a different time and place when your imagination is just forming. Using the visual clues, kids try to understand the emotions of the characters, and not just rely on the narration. They try to guess what’s going to happen next in the story.
It also helps them in relating to concepts and things they may have heard in passing and create patterns of understanding. During one of my readings, I was showing an illustration of muskoxen, reindeer and polar bears from ‘Beato Goes To Greenland‘ when one of the kids pointed out that he had seen a polar bear on a tv program and informed the group that polar bears lived near the poles. Then he realized that Greenland was a country also located near the North Pole, and everyone gained a better understanding of geography.
Picture Books Increase Reading Efficiency – Picture books that use advanced words help in building vocabulary and pronunciation. They can also link words to objects, making comprehension easier, especially when leaning new words, and help in better understanding the story. This way they can gain confidence in their reading abilities. It makes reading more fun and can helps create a lifelong pattern of reading books.
Picture Books are a Window to Another World – Not all picture books are appropriate for older kids. But the ones that educate them about different places, offer detailed illustrations and captivating text, can be very beneficial in helping your kids understand the world early on.
Most elementary school age kids may not have the opportunity to travel abroad to exotic places such as Greenland, Israel or Indonesia. But the pages of ‘Beato Goes To‘ picture books transports them to these places. They come to see what it would be like to be in those countries and can relate to their travel companions – a globe trotting cat and a kid tour guide.
Picture Books Introduce Kids to Art – Picture books with good artwork form the basis for interest in drawing, sketching, and graphic design. Encourage kids to spend time looking at minor details in the pictures. This helps them become keen observers and allows them to look at other aspects of the story not mentioned in text.
The illustrations in ‘Beato Goes To’ are highly detailed and kids can spend considerable amount of time looking through what’s happening on each page. I intended to have my readers enjoy the books visually as much as they do reading the text.
Click here to download coloring pages from ‘Beato Goes To’ books.
Picture Books Allow Time for Bonding – Once you start reading a book on your own, it becomes a solitary activity. But picture books are read together and aloud. It allows time for togetherness as parents and children discuss what they are reading and share their own experiences.
As you read ‘Beato Goes To’ books to your young ones, tell them personal stories related to what’s shown on the pages. Was there a time you saw the Northern Lights, went scuba diving, or rode a horse? Story time will be more fun and memorable when you share your own adventures.
What’s your all time favorite picture book? Share with our readers in the comment section below…