What children need to know about reading and writing before they can read or write is called early literacy.
As your child’s caregiver, you are their first teacher. The greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five, a time your child spends with you. By age three, 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed. As a child ages, the brain gets rid of weaker synaptic connections in favor of stronger ones. We can improve the strength of synaptic connections with experiences that reinforce learning that has already occurred.
In our Building Blocks to Early Literacy series, we will share early literacy tips for you to do at home to help your child get ready to learn to read.
Today’s Early Literacy Tip is: Look at the Pictures in Your Child’s Books.
Reading aloud isn’t the only way books can help your child get ready to read. A great way to start a conversation with your child about what they are reading is to ask them about what they are seeing.
Looking at the pictures they see and talking with them about it helps your child make connections between what they see in the book and what they see in the world around them. This kind of interaction helps your child develop an appreciation for a book’s art and artists.
Art is a very important part of picture books, and children’s books in general. One interesting fact you may not know, the Caldecott Medal, one of the highest honors available in children’s literature, is actually awarded for a book’s outstanding ART and not necessarily it’s overall quality.
Wordless books, as we’ve discussed before, gives your child the opportunity to help tell the story along with you. It helps them use their words, developing their language skills, and gives them an idea of how stories are sequenced and linear with a beginning, middle and end. You can look at these books with your child and ask them questions about what they see and how what they are seeing fits in with the story.
You can find wordless picture books, as well as books with great and discussable art, throughout our libraries Easy collection and some authors who do great work in that area are featured below: