Picture-book reading in early childhood not only develops early reading habits, but also teaches kids about the world around them, according to a study published in the latest issue of Developmental Psychology.
The findings of the research showed that interactions with life-like colour pictures could aid in children’s learning process.
In order to determine the extent of a child’s ability to learn from a picture-book, psychologist Gabrielle Simcock, University of Queensland and co-author DeLoache, University of Virginia, tested if toddlers could imitate specific target actions on novel real-world objects on the basis of a picture-book interaction.
A total of 132 children from three different age groups being 18 months, 24 months and 30 months participated in two studies.
In the first study, two groups of children ages 18, 24 and 30-months, were given one of two picture books. One contained six colour photographs and the other contained coloured pencil drawings that were reproductions of the photograph. At the end of the reading, the children were asked to construct a rattle using the items in front of them. The study revealed that many of the children were able to imitate the actions depicted and described in the book.
"This research shows that very young children can learn to perform novel actions with novel objects from a brief picture-book reading interaction. This common form of interaction that takes place very early in children’s lives, may provide an important source of information to them about the world around them," said lead author, Gabrielle Simcock.
However, the second study showed that the second group of toddlers performed relatively poorly when given the black and white images compared to the first group of toddlers who were given colour photographs, proving that children are more influenced by iconic images.