“And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)” ― Dr. Seuss
Ok – you know the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. However, keeping that positive attitude will make moving that mountain much, much easier. And children’s picture books are the perfect way to start the whole process.
So today I want to explore some important ways picture books meet young children’s needs that can build both a solid emotional foundation and a successful future for them. There is no better teaching tool to a young mind than opening the colorful pages of a picture book. Immediately the child becomes motivated by the extraordinary illustrations. Add to that the large text found within its pages and the child easily enjoys picture book story time – each time. So let’s take a look at some ways picture books meet the needs of children …
1. They can help children build self-esteem. This is learned through positive words, “Yes – You Can!” As children are exposed to positive words in a picture book, this helps reinforce a positive attitude and builds self-esteem. Some examples of these books include; I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont, Zero by Kathryn Otoshi, and I’m Gonna Like Me by Jamie Lee Curtis.
2. They can help children build solid and secure attachments. Sharing, new friends, and solving disagreements are all very important social skills. Some excellent examples are; Hands are Not for Hitting by Dr. Martine Agassi, Rosie and Michael by Judith Viorst, and It’s My Turn by David Bedford.
3. They can help children build cultural connections. Books helping children explore cultural diversity include; It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr, Emma and Meesha My Boy: A Two Mom Story by Kaityln Taylor Considine, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Sam Snead.
4. They can help children obtain literacy with the printed word. Books that demonstrate how to participate more successfully with family, friends, school, and the community include; A Library Book for Bear by Bonnie Becker, The Best Book in the World by Rila Alexander and My Pet Book by Bob Staake.
These are just a few examples on the importance of children’s picture books via the storyteller where the child can develop and grow in: self-esteem, secure attachments, cultural connections, and literacy. Each time a picture book is read out loud, both fiction as well as nonfiction varieties can have a positive impact on the child’s growth in knowledge, their ability to recall information, the reading and writing skills, their ability to organize, and their understanding of ethnic and cultural traditions (Armington 1997; Nelson, Aksu-Koc & Johnson 2001; Sylwester 1995). In a future blog, I’ll discuss the four additional ways picture books meet young children’s needs.
~ Robert Scott Thayer
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