The Power of the Picture Book

in Early Childhood in the News

A stack of picture books waits on my daughter’s nightstand. Every bedtime, we take turns reading aloud the pages of a story. We pore over the detailed pictures, and laugh out loud as we read the rowdy, rhythmic words of the characters in our own funny voices.

Yet, in her New York Times article Julie Bosman reports on the sales slump of picture storybooks. “Parents have begun pressing their kindergarteners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books.” Schools push, too, accelerating the graduation rate out of picture books. “Many publishers have gradually reduced the number of picture books they produce.” says Bosman.

High-stakes testing sends the wrong message: that children will test better if they are pushed into big-kid books earlier. In our home, we value the rich language in children’s storybooks. We read every word carefully. For children to learn to read well, they must have repeated exposure to the power of the picture book.

Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children, The New York Times, October 7, 2010

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