With the COVID-19 pandemic entering its fifth month I have been ruminating on an important aspect of storybooks. Children who are read to often and regularly have greatly increased chances for success in reading and in academia. One area that is not addressed as often as hearing the speech and the sounds is the visualization. Seeing pictures in a book and relating them to the child’s everyday life is crucial for vocabulary enhancement.

Picture storybooks give children knowledge of items, animals, and other environmental objects. Storybooks are one of the greatest vocabulary builders along with parental talk. This goes for children of all socioeconomic levels. 

Working with a young girl many years ago I discovered after a conversation with the mother that the young preschooler lacked in rudimentary knowledge of household items because they were living in a car at the time. Until the mother’s situation improved, I used household toys and storybooks related to the home to help her associate the picture with the item. Children need to be able to see an object, associate a picture of the object and have adults talk about the uses. Lack of this puts the children at risk for speech and language and vocabulary as well. 

The illustrations in picture books serve more than one purpose. It improves comprehension and memory. If the child is familiar with the object, he/she will better understand the word associated with the object. Furthermore, associating the illustration with the spoken word and the written word improves the memory of the word (aka vocabulary). 

In addition, storybooks with varied illustrations give children a wider view of the world and of other cultures. A child exposed to other environments and cultures and animals early in life will develop awareness, sympathy, rapport, and vicarious emotion for others. It is important to choose books that include persons of different cultures and looks. Also, choose books that include animals of different habitats and the beauty and sometimes the struggles within disappearing habitats. This will instill in the children an appreciation for the environment.

Your children will learn about The Great Potoo, the toucan, the kinkajou, and so many more in Can A Toucan Hoot Too? The photos in the book are actual photos provided by The Toucan Rescue Ranch of Costa Rica. In addition, the book includes black/white animal images for copying and coloring. This book is on sale at www.slpstorytellers.com for $9.95 vs. $10.95 on Amazon for a limited time. On the Home page click on Shop Here or follow the link above. With your paid subscription (access from Home page) you will be able to download the 77 page phonemic awareness/articulation workbook.

Seeing is Knowing – Toucan, The Great Potoo, Kinkajou, and More