Why picture books are important

creature for january 28, 2011
creature for the day

In this day and age, there are so many forms of entertainment, from TV and DVDs to hand held video games and phone apps. The simple pleasures of a book have become buried under all the technology.

When I was a child, my parents only allowed my brother and I two hours of TV a night. The two of us had to take turns on which shows we wanted to watch. Other restrictions include not being able to watch game shows, sitcoms or soap opera type things. It makes me wonder if my parents watch reality shows these days. I know my mother watches the shopping channels. Don’t ask me to explain it, I haven’t a clue.

But that’s neither here nor there.

The Childrens’ Foundation recommends reading to your child for 20 minutes a day. They claim it will be the most important 20 minutes in your day. Reading is a skill everyone must have to be a functioning member of today’s world. Think of all the myriad of tasks you go through in a typical day and how few of them DO NOT require you to read. By the time a child has reached third grade, their reading change from learning the mechanics to needing the skill to learn further. Advanced education isn’t possible with a strong reading foundation.

When I was young, we first learned to read in elementary school. When my daughter was young, reading was first taught in kindergarten. Children now are learning to read in pre-school. Precursors to reading such as recognizing letters and understanding vocabulary are also being taught at younger and younger ages. Kids who are read to have a leg up on their peers because they have been introduced to the world of wonders books can provide.

According to several studies, children in homes with access to books are smarter then children who don’t have the same opportunity. Planet Green has an article with suggestions for busy parents or for those who cannot afford to create an in house library for their children. When my daughter was little, we went to the library every Saturday. I allowed her to pick out a book for each day of the week, to be read at bedtime. Those days are some of my fondest memories of time spent with her.

Books make kids smarter. Smarter kids are smarter adults. Smarter adults will be able to contribute better to the world they live in. All because of a few picture books at bedtime.