Pictures take students beyond simple observation and make them creative

27 December 2015
Pictures take students beyond simple observation and make them creative

Masum Billah :
It is our common observation and experience that children like to play with the pictures, picture books and sometimes we see them talk to pictures. They love remaining busy with drawing pictures. That means children have a strong affinity towards pictures. So, if we can utilize this tendency of children to develop their learning process, it can have a positive impact on their learning style.
The illustrations of a picture book help children understand what they are reading and allow young readers to analyze the story. Children can figure out the meaning of what they read through with the help of pictures. The illustrations are also a powerful way to help English learners comprehend the story.  Picture books allow children to practice the sounds of language and parents' responsibility should be to introduce them to new and interesting words. The rhythm and rhyme in many picture books make children learn words more easily. The repetition in many picture books allows a child to participate in the story.
 Picture books are multi-sensory, which aids a child's growing mind and stimulates their imagination to hear the story. They also see the illustrations, and smell and touch the pages. These books can be a useful tool for teaching the concept of cause and effect. The words such as so, if, as, because can usually be found in a story that has a cause and effect relationship. Picture books help develop story sense of children and they   learn the beginning, middle and end of a story and can often relate to the age-appropriate issues and conflicts presented in a picture book. Picture books allow an entirely different, more interactive communication between parent and child. Picture books allow parents to spend time talking with their children about the story, pictures and words. This interaction builds reading comprehension. Picture books are fun and the key is to always make the reading experience fun and a time to look forward to. Reading should never be perceived as a chore. If you make reading a chore early on in a child's development, they might grow to resent reading.
Picture books represent a unique literary form that blends stories with art. In a picture book, the illustrations are as important as the text, and both work together to tell the story. Reading picture books means exploring the art as well. A child's first impression of a book is usually shaped by the pictures. So children should be involved in choosing books with wonderful, eye-catching illustrations that beg to be explored.  "Picture walks" through books by leafing through the pages to look at the images and discussing what you see before you read. Thus the most reluctant readers can be attracted to a book having many pictures.
Illustrations can do even more than draw a child into a book; they can hook children into a lifelong love of reading. For our youngest children, pictures are an introduction into the world of books. Long before they can read, children respond to images in an effort to place themselves and the others in their lives into the world around them. Picture books aren't just for young children. Older children are often more motivated to read picture books than books without illustrations because they see them as more fun and easier to read. Picture books are also appealing as a break from longer novels because most can be read in a single sitting.
Pictures enable children to explore the world within their own imagination and make connections to characters and events they see depicted in books.  Illustrators usually tell stories with pictures. Authors use illustrations to depict specific scenes of high emotion or action. Illustrators often use a variety of techniques to convey mood and tone as well as character and plot. When illustrations reflect people, objects, and situations familiar to children, the images help validate their emotions and experiences. The process of making an emotional connection can help a child learn empathy and compassion for others. Picture books introduce complex concepts in a safe environment.
Storybooks, although fictional, can also convey a great deal of information. A story about a trip to a farm or a new place may have illustrations that can teach kids a lot about these places. Illustrations in children's non-fiction books can expose children to new ideas, different people, and places they've never seen. Picture books help young children understand that words convey meaning, well before they are aware of the text. Pictures can help increase vocabulary, an important building block for reading. This kind of books can help young children identify colors, shapes, numbers, and letters, as well as names of people, places, animals, and everyday objects. Picture books can also help build background knowledge that is essential to successful reading. A child who has never been to the zoo, a farm, or a beach can still learn all about these places by exploring picture books.
Picture books help older kids with comprehension and prompt them to read critically. They can use the pictures to predict what's going to happen next. The images can teach children to watch, look, and listen for clues, warning signs, and exciting things they might otherwise miss. Picture books present a perfect opportunity for adult-child interaction, another critical element in developing a lifelong love of books. Talking about what the child likes or dislikes about illustrations is an easy way to generate conversation around a book and its plot.
Picture books introduce children to the concept of reading, even if they can't read yet. These books strengthen visual thinking skills and help children connect what they observe with how they reason, linking concepts with words. Picture books introduce children to a love of art in a way that just taking a child to an art gallery can't achieve.
The illustrations aren't mere decoration to the text. They enhance the story and emotions. The context encourages a child to go back to different pictures over and over, noticing new things, reading characters' emotions and interactions, possible secondary subplots that are told only in the pictures.

(Masum Billah taught in Ghatail Cantonment College, Sylhet,Comilla and Mirzapur Cadet College and Rajuk Uttara Model College. He regularly writes on various national and international issues along with educational issues) Email: masumbillah65

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