This is the second post by guest contributor, Sharee Pearson, educator and early reading specialist from Atlanta.
Have you ever heard the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Your little one may see meaning in pictures before he or she can recognize words. Pictures are the beginning of reading comprehension, a way of gathering meaning from words.
Are you waiting in the doctor’s office? Pull out your cell phone or laptop and locate photos of family events or other images of objects familiar to your child. Allow him or her to tell a story about the pictures or share your own stories while your youngster listens. Identify familiar details and people as you enjoy the experience together.
Are you reading a book to your child? If the book contains rich illustrations, you may wish to stop and reflect about additional meanings or details included in the images. Previewing pictures before reading a book may enable you to establish background information, discuss unfamiliar language or make predictions. This is sometimes called a picture walk.
When your child draws a picture, ask him or her to tell you about it. In describing the artwork, your little one is assigning meaning to the drawing and creating details that will set the stage for future picture reading.
Look for opportunities to "read" pictures in magazines, on billboards, in photo albums or in framed artwork. The possibilities are endless and will introduce your child to a world of meaning, even before the introduction of the written word.