“Can you please show me the pictures?” Teachers and parents across the globe can relate to hearing this plea as they share picture books with young readers. The illustrations in books are arguably just as important as the text. As your child begins building print awareness, she will undoubtedly value the relationship between the illustrations and the text.
Understanding the logical connections between text and illustrations is a milestone skill for Pre-K students. Vivid visual elements aid in your child’s perception and memory skills. Take facial expressions for example. Your child can use his knowledge about emotions and facial expressions to infer how a character feels about story events.
This implicit thinking is sophisticated and will lead to stronger inferential thinking skills going forward. Highlight how information from the illustrations is not always included in the text.
A picture walk is commonly used before reading strategy to make predictions and set the purpose for reading. At the start of each new picture book, read the title of the book and show the cover. Give your child a few minutes to browse the book, attending to the illustrations only. After looking at the illustrations, have your child predict the storyline. Confirm and adjust predictions as you progress through the book.
Use small sticky notes to cover a word or two on each page of a picture book. Tell your child that you’re going to play a game called guess and check. When your child encounters a word that is covered, they will have to rely on the clues from the illustration to guess the hidden word.
This activity is like guess and check. Cover the entire text on a page. Have your child analyze that illustration to gather as much information as possible about the setting, characters, and story events. Ask your child, “What is happening in the text?” Uncover the text and compare it to your child’s observations.
Kids Academy’s resources featured below provide extra support by using illustrations to support understanding of texts.
Visit your local library or bookstore to hunt for picture books to read aloud to your toddler. Use the features to reinforce print awareness and develop inferential thinking. Don’t forget to take advantage of the research-based resources offered through Kids Academy.