Are Children’s Picture Books Becoming Extinct?
Along with harp seals and VHS, hardcover picture books might be an endangered species.
These days, parents are encouraging their young children to bypass picture books and engage with chapter books instead, according to a recent NYTimes.com article. As parents become more aware of standardized testing in schools, they feel pressure to foster their children’s reading skills and ensure a better academic future. Kids as young as 4- or 5-years-old may see “Curious George” replaced on their bookshelf with “Charlotte’s Web,” a book aimed for kids twice their age.
Certain classic picture books are still popular (“Where the Wild Things Are,” “Goodnight Moon,” and “The Cat in the Hat”), but publishing houses are scaling back the production of new picture books in favor of promoting bestsellers, the Times reports. At $15 or more, hardcover picture books also cost more than chapter books, usually sold in paperback at cheaper prices. With the ongoing recession, parents may find that saving a little by purchasing chapter books may go a long way in getting their kids into an Ivy League.
Kris Vreeland, a book buyer in California, told the Times: “Some of the vocabulary in a picture book is much more challenging than in a chapter book. The words themselves, and the concepts, can be very sophisticated in a picture book.” (NYTimes.com)
While kids who read longer, complex books at a younger age may develop their reading and cognitive skills faster, there may be unnecessary pressure for them to develop at an uncomfortable pace. Part of the joy of reading picture books is to experience the textual and visual elements of language first, and then transition into more complex novels that develop the imagination.
As a parent, are you replacing your children’s picture books with chapter books already? Or are you letting your kids progress at their own pace?Add a Comment