• Isha Harshe

Using Picture Books To Teach Reading

Do you remember what your bookshelf looked like when you were a kid? It is probably no coincidence that many of those books were picture books, with enticing and colorful illustrations throughout.

As we grow older, the illustrations often lose their color and sometimes disappear altogether. As adults, it may be difficult to appreciate picture books, but they serve a very important purpose for children: learning how to read. 

First Impressions

In order to teach a child how to read, you have to hand them a book first! One of the hardest parts of teaching reading is picking out a book. Picture books come in handy because kids do judge a book by its cover. Colorful or funny illustrations can stand out to some children. Others may be excited to see a character that looks like themselves.

No matter the reason, illustrations entice a child to pick up the book, the first step to learning how to read. 

Building Language Skills

Many picture books follow a rhyme or a rhythm, which can help young students learn how to pronounce words. They can see patterns between words, and recognize how certain letter combinations can make the same sound.

Some picture books focus on the alphabet and building phonics skills, which allows children to associate a written letter with the sound it makes. Some can even begin to teach science! Hearing and seeing are two components that go hand-in-hand when learning how to read. 

Making Connections

Picture books can help young students learn not only letters but also vocabulary words. Students can use context clues embedded within illustrations of the book to understand what a word means.

You can test your child’s understanding of a word by asking them to point to the object that the word refers to on the page. Illustrations can also give clues about social and emotional concepts.

You can ask your child, “how do you know that the character is happy?” If they see the character is smiling, they will learn to associate smiling with happiness. Making these connections is an important aspect of learning how to understand the story. 

Understanding The Story

Reading is not just about reciting the words on the page. It is about understanding how the words on one page connect to the words on a different page. Stories include cause and effect, and students can use illustrations to help them understand actions occurring within the story. This all can start to help your child develop critical thinking skills.

If an illustration on one page shows someone tipping over a vase, and then the next page shows a broken vase on the ground, the reader will be able to understand that when a vase falls, it usually breaks. Seeing a broken vase can also help reinforce what the word “break” means.

Since birth, we are constantly learning about the world through visual cues. Therefore, it is important to embed visuals when teaching skills like reading so children can use what they know to learn about something new. 

Picture Books in STEM

Illustrations convey concepts in an easy and exciting manner – and that’s why it is important to include picture books when teaching STEM concepts, which can seem complex and difficult at first.

Boon-Dah’s learning system includes unique picture books that are focused on using science to solve everyday problems, which will keep your child educated and entertained!

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