Photo by Toa Heftiba Şinca

Picture books have been around since time immemorial. How will illustrations affect children’s literacy skills? Will it impact their capacity to understand the world around them?

Travel back to when you were a little child, sprawled on the floor while reading a fascinating picture book. Do you recall the feeling of being part of the characters’ life experiences? When you look at each illustration, what do you see?

Picture books are the first exposure to what the world would be like in the eyes of a child. Although not everything is as realistic as the ones we see as grownups, the enchanting setup of every page makes reading enjoyable for kids. It manages to breathe life into a child’s memories.

Here’s why illustrations affect children’s literacy skills:

The positive impact of reading children’s books

Parents will use all means necessary to aid their child’s development, especially when it’s about their education in the future. And even with the emergence of e-books and phones they can be fixated on, nothing beats the genuine feel of flipping pages containing fun illustrations.

Here’s why illustrations affect children’s literacy skills:

Literary understanding increases

For children to quickly digest the text they read or are being read aloud to them, having illustrations on the side helps them understand what’s on the books. These illustrations serve as a visual roadmap to make the child follow the story better. Before they become skilled readers, they have a lot to learn; and it is through children’s books that their literary understanding increases.

Not only that, their understanding of the world mostly starts with the books they read. Like in the book The Song Of Solomon The Snail by Caroleann Rice, children’s literacy skills expand beyond reading and comprehensive text. They become agents of change, enforcing positivity and wisdom in a world that’s already clouded. Illustrations found in children’s books broaden their empathy and emotional intelligence.

Boosts their language skills and vocabulary

Children are also at a stage where they pick up words and build sentences audibly. So how does it affect children’s literacy skills? They do that by reading picture books. The illustrations keep the books from being mere walls of text. But language and vocabulary-wise, kids develop and practice phonological awareness because of the cadence they pick up from reading.

By repeating passages across the books they read, the sounds and patterns of a particular language will retain in their minds. And when coupled with illustrations that deliver the meaning of words better, children’s literacy skills are elevated further. They connect the pictures to the words and use the illustrations as background references that give more context to the story, especially when it’s about new objects that the child encounters for the first time.

Familiarization of sequences

Storybooks have always been great at educating children about sequencing in general. And with a picture book’s inherent trait to tell an organized storyline, children’s literacy skills are tested well. Kids will become good at recognizing the events’ beginning, middle, and end. And with illustrations thrown into the mix, they encourage children to predict the next step and assume what will happen in the story.

Intensified love for reading

Eventually, children will outgrow the preference for picture books upon transitioning to adult novels. But while they’re still young, it’s good for them to spark a love for reading. When they look at the animals and mythical characters being portrayed in such a comical way, they take pleasure in how the world inside the book works.

They begin to explore the benefits of sparking joy in their hearts. That’s what makes children fall in love with books that contain illustrations. The children’s enhanced literacy skills make it a memorable experience they will look back on with a smile as they age.