November 20, 2017- AWE Learning Staff
November is recognized as National Picture Book Month! Picture Books are books that feature illustrations on each page, or at least on one of every pair of facing pages. In picture books, the illustrations are just as important as, or even more important than, the words in telling the story.
Common categories of children’s picture books include:
- Picture Book Biographies provide an introduction to the lives of accomplished men and women for early learners.
- Wordless Picture Books tell the story completely through illustrations with no words at all, or have a minimal number of words embedded in the illustrations.
- Classic Picture Books are those that have remained popular and easily accessible for more than one generation.
Without text on the pages, picture books can be ‘read’ and enjoyed independently by children of all ages, despite their reading levels.
There are many benefits to engaging in read alouds with your early learners. Furthermore, reading picture books with them is the perfect chance for additional learning opportunities. While ‘reading’ the pictures, one can point out the objects in the images, expanding the young learners’ vocabulary and language skills. Most importantly, picture books promote the development of creativity and storytelling skills. Rather than simply listening to a story, picture books encourage children to tell a story.
While picture books are often targeted towards early learners, they are also captivating for older children. As children grow older, their appreciation for the artwork and details included increases. Picture books have been associated with being a ‘mind-bender;’ they stimulate the mind and imagination. Picture books also tend to evoke an emotional response. Just like the common saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ pictures provide a higher level of detail that often cannot be conveyed.
Reading picture books, even those with only a few words, are just as beneficial as those with long paragraphs or sentences. The most important part of reading any text is talking about what happens. As pictures tell the story, picture books can stimulate complex discussions about the plot, setting, and characters, specifically their emotions. All individuals reading the picture book may notice different details, or have a different takeaway on what is being portrayed in the image.
Check out The Children’s Book Review’s list of 20 Best New Picture Books published last month (October 2017). What are your favorite picture books?