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Learn to read with picture books

How reading (and re reading) picturebooks can help children become independent readers?

Many picturebooks are based on/have/contain rhyme and repetition

By reading a book aloud to your child they will hear how the words on the page sound, and start to notice the rhyme or the repetition.  You can point this out when you read the book again to them and perhaps pause to encourage your child to complete the rhyme or the repeated phrase. By showing your child where the words are on the page they will be able to match what they hear with what is written down.


Illustrations are the gateway to reading for deeper meanings

  • Illustrations help children read unfamiliar words. Reading a new word requires children to use lots of information at once, this includes not only how letters and sounds build into words but also what might makes sense in the story. Children can predict what a new word might be by looking for clues in the pictures.
  • A picturebook offers a reading experience which involves interpreting the illustrations as well as the words. Illustrations add lots of extra information and layers of meaning to the storytelling and children will notice more in them when they share a book with you for a second time. (Probably you will too!) For example, can you spot exactly when George loses his magic hat in Almost Anything or how difficult it is for Iris to hide a lion in Helen Stephen’s How to Hide a Lion.


Picture books are exciting

Children are most likely to develop as readers if they find books and reading exciting, want to look at books more than once and spend time reading, with you and on their own too. They will be drawn to illustrations in fantastic picture books. For example Man on the Moon (a day in the life of Bob) fascinates and amuses young readers with its stunning illustrations. See our top ten lists and our themed collections.


Picture books lead to great conversations

Even though apparently simple there are often big ideas inside picture books.  For example with Ed Vere’s Grumpy Frog you can talk about how the character is feeling and what other characters might think about him and then maybe go onto talk about prejudice, compromise and what it means to be a good friend.

Even if your bedtime read is more often than not a children’s novel don’t forget to read them picture books too. They can help turn children into readers and be a great shared experience as well.