“Seeing is believing” rings true with the reading of storybooks. How often do you see characters and actions in your head while reading? With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect our lives I have been ruminating on the very important aspect of storybooks. – visualizing.  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 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).  Furthermore, it improves the visualization skills for later reading and spelling. When we can see the letters in our minds it is easier to spell a word.

Furthermore, 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 love Honey Bunny, The Great Potoo, the toucan, the kinkajou, the blue-footed booby and so many more in these books.

Bee, Honey Bunny and Me

The Great Potoo and the Cockatoo Coloring Book

EEK! I Hear a Squeak Coloring Book

Can a Toucan Hoot Too?

Galapagos Rules! Postcards from Poppies

Seeing is Believing