How to make use of pictures in children’s books to make reading fun?


Pictures attract and motivate a child to pick up a book, as much as an interesting title does. Children dwell in pictures. As a child, I used to spend hours gazing at one picture, and imagining myself in that scene. I hope kids still do that, in spite of tv and videogames.”- Ashok Rajagopalan (author and illustrator of over 500 children’s books)


Toddlers constantly learnt new things by looking at things, touching and feeling them. As they grow older and begin to appreciate small stories, pictures take over as a means to learn new things. Pictures give context to the story that you are reading and enable children to understand the story better. If they like the story, they may want the same book several times. (Here is why-Why Do Children Love Reading the Same Book Many Times?)

Pictures help in learning to read

Keeping in mind that pictures/illustrations have been predominant in a child’s life from early on, they come in use even when it is time for them to learn to read on their own. When they learn to connect the pictures with the words that they are trying to read, the text for the first time seems to make sense. They gradually understand the purpose of text which is to fill in the gaps in the story that illustrations sometimes cannot show. Will Terry an illustrator with several years of experience explains it so aptly that it will change the way you approach the ‘reading challenge’ in children.


“Personally, I was one of those reluctant readers. If it wasn’t for the illustrations, I may have never loved to read. I pretended to read and just looked at pictures. Sometimes I would look at an illustration and not quite understand what was going on or why a character was doing what he was doing,” Terry says. “I had to force myself to go through the words and realize, ‘Oh, that’s what is going on.’ . . . It is our job to put the reader into the world that the author has created in a way that will make them want to read the text or make them want to find out more.”


Familiarity of the story through pictures enables them to recognise some words that can be derived from the context provided by pictures. This goes a long way in boosting their confidence and motivates them to try reading more on their own. First of all familiarity of the story makes the task less daunting. Secondly the presence of pictures as a helping hand makes the process a lot easier.

Find out more about how humourous illustrations can motivate children to read for pleasure from none other than Ashok Rajagopalan himself. Refer “In conversation with Ashok Rajagopalan” on READING JOURNEY


If you would like to be part of a reading community that discusses about making reading fun  for children, MerryGoBooks has a quickly growing community on Facebook- THE READING JOURNEY. Please feel free to join in and talk about your experiences in this regard, ask for book recommendations, suggestions to get your child interested in reading and so on. Looking forward to seeing you there.



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