As a child grows, the reading material will grow with him. The pictures, stories and characters will get more and more complex … more great opportunities for picture book makers to shine, and a bigger world opening up for the child … time to begin some real exploration of his world.
When pilots are being trained, before they ever take to the sky in an actual plane, they spend lots of practice hours “flying” in a flight simulator. It’s a safe way to experience inevitable student mistakes.
Books are like that for kids … life simulators … a safe way for them to explore and experience the world and all the inevitable joys, risks and dangers they might encounter.
This is so important, because they really have just arrived on the scene and they haven’t been here long enough to even know what they like, much less what’s out there for them to like. So books are here to help them explore that!
Are all you book makers out there paying attention? When we write and draw subjects we’re interested in, that enthusiasm just may ignite enthusiasm for the same thing in a reader!
And all the parents out there need to be tuned in, too … add some field trips to those books! If that youngster decides he’s an animal lover, or wants to climb mountains, or jump out of airplanes, or explore the ocean, or fly to the moon … that’s your cue! After he reads about it, top it off with a trip to the zoo or a state park or a museum.
Or perhaps they are fiction lovers and prefer to read stories. Then they’ll learn important life lessons from the experiences of the characters. How specific decisions and actions will result in specific consequences, positive or negative.
Parents have the most important job on the planet … raising up actual human beings who will grow up one day and run governments and businesses and invent things and make discoveries that will make life on the planet better perhaps. That’s a tough job. If it’s not done correctly we could wake up one day and find out that we’re living on a planet run by humans who haven’t developed and matured well, who can’t think or reason well, who haven’t learned history and reality’s hard lessons … and by the time they are grown and running the world badly, it will be too late to undo the damage. We will be too old and at their mercy!
So parents, keep at it! Keep reading and investing in those kids! Start early and don’t stop until those reading habits are firmly established. Reading habits that will teach them how to think and reason, and verbalize their thoughts and emotions, and help them know themselves better which will lead to better communication skills and the ability to connect well with their peers.
It all begins with the simplest of picture books.