Pictures are just as important as words in picture books. They help explain what the words mean, work both parts of the brain, and ignites conversation. Don't forget, talking is part of early literacy!
One way to do this is to take a "Picture Walk" through a book - best for preschoolers and up. Here are some tips from Saroj Ghoting, early literacy extraordinaire.
"A picture walk helps develop your children’s language and pre-reading skills. Talk about the pictures keeping in mind what is needed to understand the story when it is read.
• Have a conversation with your child around a book before you read it.
• A picture walk is not reading the book. It’s talking about the pictures—getting to know the book together.
• Works best with books that have a predictable sequence or story.
• Speak in the language that is most comfortable for YOU!
What to do:
o Look at the cover.
o Point to and say name of author and title.
o Looking at the cover, ask your child what he thinks the book will be about.
o Without reading the words in the book, encourage your child to turn the pages one at a time.
o Point to a picture and ask, what questions
- What do you see on this page?
- What is happening?
- What is this picture telling you?
- What do you think will happen?
o When you talk about the pictures
- Take turns talking
- Introduce new words; explain what they mean
- Add a bit more information to what the child says
- Rephrase what your child says adding more words or ideas
- Help your child make connections to past experiences and future events.
- When did you . . . ?
- How did you feel when. . . ?
- How would you feel if . . . ?
o Guide your child so he will understand the story
- What words might he need to know?
- What does he need to know to understand the story?"