Picture books may seem silly, but the illustrations in children’s stories serve a valuable purpose beyond entertainment. Learning to read and comprehend text is a major milestone in a child’s life. The majority of kids are reading on a basic level before entering the third grade, when comprehending the written word is a necessity.
Books that include pictures help a child to learn how to create images in their minds. This is critical to developing good comprehension skills. Here is how reading a book that includes images to your child can help improve reading comprehension.
Why are Illustrations Important?
It takes a lot of skill for a child to create a visual image in their head while reading. This skill is first developed through seeing illustrations in picture books. By hearing and seeing a story, not only is a child utilizing multiple learning styles, but they are also learning to comprehend words through illustrations. This will later develop into the ability to generate images in the mind while reading.
For example, when you read the word “ball,” an image of a ball is probably instantly created in your mind. If you were to read the sentence “The girl bounced the ball,” you can visualize a girl bouncing a ball. This is reading comprehension and it is built on a foundation of picture books.
Developing a Child’s Reading Comprehension Through Illustrations
There are several ways that you can assist a child with developing their reading comprehension skills. This begins with simply reading a book. Here are some easy tips to follow while you read that will help your child improve their comprehension skills:
- Remember to pause after each paragraph or page, allowing your child adequate time to view the images and comprehend what is happening in the story.
- Explain what is happening in the illustrations and point out small details that go with the text that your child may miss. Show your child each of the characters and explain the setting. This will help your child to be able to associate the images they are seeing with the text that you are reading.
- Tell your child that the pictures will help them to understand the story and explain the importance of seeing the images in their minds while you are reading the text.
- Ask your child what they see, hear, smell, taste and feel as well as what words helped them to develop those emotions and images.
- Over time, increase the amount of text you read before pausing. Eventually you will be able to read an entire book and have your child explain the meaning and story.
If you have a child, or are teaching children, who are in the early stages of reading, be sure to use books that have illustrations so that you may promote good reading comprehension skills. It is never too early to start reading to a child. Their developing minds are eager to learn. There are many great picture books, such as “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”, available on iStoryBook.