Beautifully illustrated text books enhance the student's learning capacity. Even the research conducted over the years proves this. It is ascertained from the research undertaken in the recent past that story books used at the earlier stage of life do help greatly in acquiring learning skills and molding the character of the child. This contributes to the child’s overall intellectual development and literate behaviour. Some of the benefits that illustrated texts provide are that they emphasize the text. There are different types of picture illustrations that help in various stages of learning.
Most of the time you have watched children select a book and stare at the colourful illustrations. Colourful illustrations in the book make the story come alive magically. The images and illustrations get the children to think in novel ways. Children often study the illustrations much before they can be able to read them. By using these illustrations as a visual aid, it helps the child to grasp the basic story, inspires him to use his imagination and also helps him to develop language skills.
How should pictures and figures be illustrated in text books?
- When you develop images that are to be placed in the text book, you should choose those pictures that overlap with the text. When images and text correspond to one another or the picture reinforces the text, it greatly benefits the learner. Pictures that are decorative help the book look more appealing and make it easily sellable. But it cannot guarantee that it can aid the learner to understand or remember the text script.
- Develop original text that engrosses the reader and stimulates the imagination and curiosity of the child. Interesting narratives will elicit visual images in the learner’s mind in the absence of visual images.
- Select illustrations that the child is already familiar with or commonly seen and played with. Complicated and unfamiliar illustrations will not have the desired effect on the child. So experienced illustrators should work along with teachers to draw images that the child is really interested in. The illustrations should make the text present in the book more coherent and should reinforce the text.
- The illustrations should be true to the plot and setting. Characters should be well developed and should be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. The illustrations should be supportive of the text. The fewer the words in the book the more expressive the illustrations should be. Comprehending the visual elements of the illustration like line, quality, composition, colour, outline and structure express the artistic genius of the illustrator and his objective.
- Illustrative books must contribute something to their reader. As the child grows from a baby into a toddler or goes to kindergarten school more text and less illustrations should be included. The children tend to think that an all-picture book is for babies. As children become older and mature, they have the tendency to read more text along with colourful illustrations. Trying to understand the contribution that illustrations make to a storybook will help children to really appreciate books. Illustrations help to grasp the concealed meaning and basic storyline that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
- Illustrations should not be typing cast. Illustrative books tend to get stereotyped based on their popularity. Books that are great hits will automatically get stereotyped and that may lead to a huge increase in production. Mimicking popular books will only lead to decreased interest in particular illustrative books. Teachers and parents should help the child to choose the right illustrative book that is appropriate for their age group. They should encourage frequent reading in order to help them learn and grow in their knowledge.
- Evaluate and analyse books read by your children. You should always take care before buying any illustrative book for your child. Some of today’s literature could contain concealed themes or concepts that are expressed through text and images. The prevailing inequalities in society or prejudices and racism could find their way through these books.
- Children’s books should have a good storyline and sustain the interest of the listeners and readers. If the story does not evoke interest from its reader, no matter how good the illustrations are, it will be kept away and never read. Select a highly motivating and engrossing story that will keep the interest of the child alive and evoke its curiosity.
- Books cannot be judged by their cover and any given book could contain elements that are great and also not so great. So, an adult should be judicious in making wise decisions and see to it that good elements should outnumber the bad and point out to the children that they too could learn from it. As it is said, 'action speaks louder than words’.
- Every illustrative story book should have good morals and the child should be encouraged to be open to them. Illustrative books should make the children think about the outcome of their actions whether they are good or bad. In the story about the hare and the tortoise, the story relates the moral of being slow and steady and not proud and hasty. So, stories like these will develop the character and integrity of the child.
Colourful illustrative books are very useful in helping young children to learn new things about life and the world around them. But choosing the right illustrative book is the key to every child’s learning. In this aspect, parents and educators have more responsibility and are the sole judges of the books they choose. Children are too young to make their own choice, however in certain cases young children could be given the opportunity to choose. But adults should be the final judge as children are too immature and inexperienced to choose a book that can be useful to them. Choosing the right book makes the time spent with children more productive and fruitful.