Reading Is Fundamental


Picture books represent a unique literary form that blends stories with art. In a picture book, the illustrations are as important as the text, and both work together to tell the story. When you share picture books with children, be sure to pay attention to the illustrations—reading picture books means exploring the art as well. This article can help you get more out of picture books by showing you how to engage children and enhance their reading experience. 


We are told, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Well, children do it all the time. A child’s first impression of a book is usually shaped by the pictures. So involve children in choosing books with wonderful, eye-catching illustrations that beg to be explored. Conduct "picture walks" through books by leafing through the pages to look at the images and discussing what you see before you read. That way, the illustrations will draw in even the most reluctant reader.


Pictures enable children to explore the world within their own imagination and make connections to characters and events they see depicted in books. When you help children connect with characters and events, you make the book more real to them.


Picture books help young children understand that words convey meaning, well before they are aware of the text. Pictures can help increase vocabulary, an important building block for reading. Books can help young children identify colors, shapes, numbers, and letters, as well as names of people, places, animals, and everyday objects.