We as parents already know the importance (and fun!) of reading to your baby and small child. It is a great way to further your bond and give them a chance to experience the world through stories and pictures. Reading helps your child start to learn letters and words and full-blown sentences. But did you also know that the pictures in their books can make a difference in how they learn too?

Picture Books

For most children, their picture books will have illustrations throughout the story. They can be slightly more realistic or full-blown cartoons, but they help to engage smaller children in the story and to put connections to what they are reading as well. If you are reading a book about a duckling to your child, they will make a faster connection to what a duckling is once they have seen the picture in the book. It helps them learn on multiple scales! 

But what some people may not realize is that the more realistic the picture is to what it is representing, the more easily a child can recognize it in the real world as well. Having actual, real photos in a child’s book will make them connect the picture to the animal even easier! So, if you are reading a picture book with actual pictures of, say zoo animals, then your child will make a faster connection to the elephant from the book to the elephant you see when you visit the zoo later on. This does not mean that seeing a cartoon picture of an elephant would not do the same trick, it would be a little slower of a connection for your child since it is not a direct photo of the animal. 

Reading and Learning

No matter how you choose to read to your child, having picture books will always help them associate to the objects around them. Since babies are starting from scratch in this big, new world, having picture books with real pictures can help them pick out these objects as they grow. There is still something to be said for a picture book with cartoon-ish depictions too, though, so do not avoid these illustrative picture books either! They can be a fun and creative way for your children to learn as well!

Katie Kyzivat