How A Child’s Brain Is Shaped and Changed Through Picture Books

Is an infant’s brain a blank slate?

It was thought among the medical community that newborn babies’ brains were a blank slate (tabula rasa) on which the record of experience was gradually impressed.  Babies spend most of their first few months sleeping and eating it was widely accepted that newborns could not have knowledge. In the early 1920’s  Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget began shedding light on the different stages of early childhood development and theories that started moving away from the tabula rasa view. Research by the National Academic’s Press states that “beginning in the 1920s, Piaget argued that the young human mind can best be described in terms of complex cognitive structures. From close observations of infants and careful questioning of children, he concluded that cognitive development proceeds through certain stages, each involving radically different cognitive schemes.”

There are two main roles picture books play in children’s lives. Picture books are used as early teaching tools between parents and children, and then, children read them to themselves as they begin learning how to read.

As early as 1658 when the first children’s book was written and published by John Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus, began an educational revolution. For the first time, mass publishing made learning more accessible to the masses. Previously, these illustrations were generally found on stained glass windows.

Why are picture books so important to children’s early development?

Visual literacy.  When we hear a story, not only are the language processing parts of our brain activated but all other areas that associate cognitive thinking when actually experiencing the events of a story are as well. Picture books are building blocks that help shape a child’s brain, including the development of the visual cortex. Reading involves several brain functions that activate mental stimulations. Including visual and auditory processes, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and perception. This allows us to use parts of our brain to process a story and how to solve it in reality, preparing us to better handle real-life situations.

Expanded horizons. Book Prunelle, the Netflix of children’s eBooks is a platform that is dedicated to covering a variety of major aspects of family life. The creator and CEO of Book Prunelle, Blandine Carsalade, created a digital children’s ebook platform to make learning enjoyable while bringing awareness about the world. Interactive books help to get your kids to learn about the world and grow to be conscious kids.  It is important to note how Book Prunelle was designed to be a way of bonding and growing for both children and their parents. Book Prunelles Instagram account states “we all know how kids love storytime: we aim to improve that time through real stories about the world, educational and interactive features engaging make-your-own-ending stories,”

A picture is worth a thousand words. Reading along with your baby is a healthy activity that stimulates brain activity and sets them on the right track for success. Their brain development is key to language comprehension and literacy skills learned early on. Book Prunelle’s Instagram account reminds us how imperative “it is better to use colored books with big letters and bright pictures,” because it is an “invaluable instrument to inspire your baby, motivate, help with creativity, and thinking capabilities.” The idea of a picture book is to help children understand what is happening around them. Using picture books for storytime also helps the reading be more interactive. The child can understand and potentially relate to the story being told.

Quality Time. Reading picture books is not only a fun activity to do together, but it also stimulates child development. Blandine Carsalade is a credited mother, author, and CEO who practices the research she partakes in. When you spend quality time together and encourage children to comprehend the world around them in the most effective form of storytelling, you are creating long term habits in young children that they will carry throughout their life. The importance of picture books to our child’s brain development has been backed by researchers, publishers, and other mothers.

Children learn by watching the world around them. Picture books are a wonderful way to teach, bond, and relate to children as they grow.

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