by Dr. Marsha Sorenson, FCOVD

Picture books are an important introduction to the joys of reading.  Eye-catching illustrations help a young reader to understand the story, even if they haven’t mastered all the words yet.  As kids start to read on their own, the pictures boost reading comprehension by providing a visualization of the story.   Later, when children progress to books with more and more text, pictures help them to develop their own internal visualization skill and translate the words into mental pictures.

Visualization is used by most of us when we read a book. After a while, we don’t see the words on the page–just a movie of the story in our mind.  This visualization ability is one of the reasons that books are sometimes better than the movies they inspire–sometimes, your imagination does a better job of bringing the story to life than any filmmaker can.   This is part of what makes reading so enjoyable!

Every year, a new lineup of beautifully-illustrated books comes to life for kids of all ages. This year was no exception, and it’s never too early to get your kids excited about reading. The Smithsonian’s Top 10 list for 2018 is the perfect place to find their next favorite book!