Early Literacy Skills and Picture Books

Picture books help in developing early literacy skills. There are many benefits for children who are in the early stages of learning to read. 

1. Build language skills by expand vocabulary –You may not realize this, but your child is actually learning new vocabulary when they read an average picture book. This also works if you read the book aloud to a child. They will develop a strong listening vocabulary. Pick up any picture book and you’ll be surprised by the word complexity.

2. Develop reading and writing skills – Picture books improve print awareness.  Print awareness is understanding that print is organized in a particular way — for example, knowing that print is read from left to right and top to bottom. Children learn that words consist of letters and that spaces appear between words. 

3. Picture books help children develop social emotional skills. Social language and our ability to interact with others appropriately can be learned through picture books. The underlying messages in a picture book often help our little ones learn how to distinguish between right and wrong, as well as how to make good choices. 

4. Picture books are a great way to introduce diversity. When children read books with characters of all different races, skin tones, and abilities, they see that these characters have a lot in common with them. If you share books about diverse characters early on it will instill those ideas and form a sense of acceptance and understanding in your children.

5. Encourage conversations –Picture book stories can be great conversations starters. Reading a picture book aloud prompts conversations about what’s happening in the story, what the characters are feeling, meanings of words, and how what’s happening might relate to your child.

6. Illustrations – The pictures on each page offer valuable clues to help children build understanding, fluency, vocabulary and other foundational literacy skills. They provide visual clues for children to help them to understand the story. 

7. Reading and writing connection – The more children read the stronger their writing skills become and the stronger their writing skills the better reader they will become. Early reading and writing skills go together. Reading books from different genres will also help to develop a child’s vocabulary. The child in time will use those newly learned words in their writing. 

Here are a few of my suggestions

All of the Berenstain Bears Books are great for vocabulary development. A great writing prompt might be “When have you judged someone or something by its appearance?”

This is another great read aloud with Halloween rapidly approaching. For a fun writing prompt I would ask the students recommend books for bats to read.

Most of all enjoy these books with children of all ages.

Challenge: Pick one of these books and writing prompts to try with your students. Let me know which books and prompts they enjoyed the most. Happy Reading and Writing!

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1 thought on “Early Literacy Skills and Picture Books”

  1. This is very true. My nephew was just diagnosed with autism, and part of his therapy is being read to. He loves it, and it’s definitely a way to bridge communication when we can’t communicate with him verbally.


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