Picture books are among the most basic tools any child will have on their road to becoming a full-fledged Champ. And yet, the influence and the benefits they bring to the table are numerous and apply to several different fields. Not only will children expand their vocabularies, but they will also nurture their social skills, improve their understanding of language and do many more useful things. So, it’s not a surprise that you can find picture books in pretty much any household. To help you understand the positive effects of picture books better, here are five ways how they help your child develop.
A richer vocabulary
Like we said, the number one benefit picture books have is that they expand a child’s vocabulary. When you’re reading to them, do your best to stop and explain a word that you think is unfamiliar. Even better, try to get them to explain the word themselves if they can. This way, they will remember that word quickly and it will easily become a part of their overall vocabulary.
And don’t be afraid to read the same story over and over again. As a matter of fact, children often insist on this. Studies have shown that this helps expand the vocabulary, too.
MindChamps has an excellent literacy programme, with plenty of stimulating exercises to help every child master the necessary skills in a fun and interesting way, so check them out to see how this can be done.
Better understanding of language
This one goes hand in hand with the previous perk, and by “understanding” we mean comprehension. So, apart from defining the less familiar words in a text, make an effort to discuss the text with your child too, just to see how much they understood.
It’s all about seeing how well they are receiving the information from the book, so try asking questions about who the main character is, what they’re doing, where they’re doing it and why. A good strategy for this exercise is also to ask questions by giving your child two or more answers to choose from or to ask them to fill in the blank. MindChamps Reading and Writing centres have plenty of exercises like this for their Champs, which results in excellent language skills across the board.
Also, when discussing the text with your child, try to gradually go from easier questions to more difficult ones. That way, you will get their attention with correct answers at the start and keep them interested for the more challenging part ahead.
Grasping the events
Expanded vocabulary and better comprehension will eventually lead to the ability to understand the consequences of events and the ability to properly order them to form a story. This is very important.
To help foster this skill, you may want to give a short overview of the story after you read it or even while reading. Invite your children to participate in this and help them put the whole story together.
A great tool for this are picture books with no words whatsoever. Not only will they help the little ones understand the order in which events happen, but they will also stimulate their imagination.
Improving social skills
Apart from improving reading skills, picture books can help improve your child’s social skills, too. This is especially the case if the picture book you have focuses on a particular social situation, such as good manners at the table, playing with others on the playground, etc.
Discuss the situations the characters find themselves in with your child, point out how that can be applied to their everyday life and talk about how the characters reacted. Try to make the child understand that the behaviour the book describes is wrong or desirable, depending on the situation.
This way, even if your child starts misbehaving in a certain social environment, you can always tell them to remember the book and what happened there, which can be quite efficient.
When all of this is put together, reading picture books will become an exercise that will bring you and your child much closer together. Simply, you will create wonderful memories this way that will last you a lifetime, plus you will be absolutely stunned by the speed at which children acquire knowledge.
Reading picture books can be a fun activity for all parties engaged because you can always sprinkle in some questions and exercises that help develop children’s creativity and lead to meaningful conversations about various situations in life.
So put some time aside for reading with your child every now and again and the results will be beneficial on so many levels!