Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Educational Post by Alice

There was an article last fall in a national newspaper that covered the topic of eager parents who were bypassing the picture book phase of childhood and pushing young book lovers forward to early reader books in the effort to, in their opinion, help their children gain academic ground.  Educators made the call that skipping any phase of development does not help a child achieve anything faster, and in fact, not fully exploring one phase of development detracts from the foundation being built. 
A group of authors and illustrators in the children’s book publishing industry have banded together to try and make every November “National Picture Book Month.”  They want to get the word out that as this generation of children grows up with more technology around them, it is not just the picture book itself that is important to children, but the experience of learning to read and having someone read to them.  Listening to the rhythm of the author’s chosen words and learning to make the magical connection of the written word and a colorful illustration is a creative process that generations have enjoyed and this group of children’s book authors and illustrators wants to make sure future generations get to be a part of as well.  After all, picture books are part of the unspoken message that make a child feel loved and makes the ritual of a bedtime story something to cherish.
The website for National Picture Book Month features a different children’s author each day, in the month of November, sharing individual thoughts on the important aspects of a picture book to a child’s emotional and educational development and what picture books meant to them growing up as a young child. The authors bring the unique perspective of remembering their childhood experiences and how, as adults, they contribute to the children’s book industry today.
November brings us the first event of the holiday season with Thanksgiving; a day to slow down in our routines, gather together and be thankful for what we have.  Some mistakenly think that because a picture book is made of fewer pages or aimed at very young readers that it is “simple.”  Every word and illustration in a picture book is painstakingly chosen and many are quiet masterpieces.  Don’t underestimate the picture book and its power as a learning tool and critical part of childhood. 
Be a champion in a child’s life and embrace the picture book all year long.  
 

Be well, 
Alice Knisley Matthias
SFC Education Writer

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