Having blogged about “More Than Words,” our public library’s program featuring four children’s book illustrators, I realize once again the importance of the pictures that tell the story. Mo Willems, famous children’s author and illustrator, grew up with immigrant parents and “read” the illustrations of books when he was young, since he didn’t know the language on the printed page. We know that young children can pay more attention to the illustrations, than to the words and linger on a page to take it all in so we need to be alert to the drawings too.
You can build your child’s language by talking “about” the page, in addition to reading it. Follow your child’s eyes to see what they are looking at and describe the picture. Talk about what you see, how it relates to your child’s life or yours and tell the story through the pictures. As long as your child seems interested you can continue to discuss the illustrations on the page. Talk about what you like and ask her what drawing she likes. Research has shown that when parents talk “about” the story rather than just read the words (which is also valuable) when children are around 3 years old, their language skills improve at a faster pace. This is called dialogic reading. Exciting illustrations can encourage language development.
That being said, I wanted to share some of my favorite illustrators. For a birthday gift, my friend, Jean, gave me Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy, illustrated by Stephen Bjorkman who is a friend of hers. This lively Continue reading