Most of us can remember the joy we felt when we were handed our first story book. The excitement, thrill and adventure that awaited us in those colourful pages of fiction! Being transported into another world had never been so easy! As parents and guardians, we surely owe the same to our children. We must give them a chance to enter the wonderful realm of fiction.
In this regard, we cannot discount the importance of picture books in our children’s lives. For children aged 2-5, this category plays a huge role in shaping their minds. Picture books have the ability to assist children tremendously in the early stages of reading. It sparks off creativity, imagination and critical thinking skills from a young age. Moreover, as preschoolers, children need to pick up some essential aspects of learning like, basic patterns, colours, shapes, relation between numbers, basic phonetics and sight words. Along with that, they must develop word-to-picture association skills as well as a good vocabulary for communicating.
The accompanying illustrations in picture books act as a roadmap for the plot. They help bring the story to life and enhance foundational literacy skills like comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, etc.
So, how does fiction actually help preschoolers? Let’s discover in a bit more detail.
Fosters Creativity and Imagination
One of the most vital benefits of reading books is developing creativity. Once children start to read, they are automatically exposed to new ideas and concepts. It makes them more worldly and aware. Admittedly, many people are of the opinion that imagination is a natural ability; it’s something we are born with. But that is not true. Creativity is also a skill. With constant nurturing, we can not only preserve it, but amplify its potential. When parents read books aloud, children have the opportunity and ability to live out their imagination through their favourite characters.
Here are a few books that fulfill this purpose wonderfully:
Develops Language Skills
When kids first learn how to speak, they mostly rely on identifying patterns and sounds to communicate. This phonemic awareness forms a solid foundation of language skills. Most picture books focus on introducing such words to children; some even have an interactive rhyming scheme, so as to help them practice similar sounds at once. So, apart from learning about phonetics, children can stock up new words and build a rich vocabulary.
Picture books come with an exciting combination of words and graphics. These pictures do more than capturing your little ones’ attention. They give contextual clues that help children follow the storyline. Because of the visual aid, kids can also form instant word to image connections. This improves their visual recognition skills and makes them more aware of their surroundings.
Here’s what we recommend:
Comprehension and Interpretation
The primary difference between non-fiction and fiction lies in its intention or goal. While non-fiction directly conveys information, fiction leaves space for personal interpretation and inferences. It contains empty spaces that need to be filled in by imagination. Questions about a character’s motive, their appearances, and behavioral tendencies come to be naturally answered by young readers. Over time, this acts as a valuable mental exercise that increases their critical thinking skills.
Developing these kinds of analytical skills serves to strengthen their understanding of sequence. By organizing different parts of a story, they can increase their powers of comprehension. From identifying the beginning, middle and end of a story, to summarizing key events, children can boost their language deduction skills.
Try these books out for targeting comprehension:
Enforces Socio-emotional Understanding
Fiction books contain a diverse set of themes. The running theme of a book can familiarise children with cultural differences, minority cultures, correct social conduct/behaviour and more. This encourages proper socio-emotional development. Of course, this is not just required for honing communication skills, but enforcing positive social behaviour. Books written about different cultures and traditions provides children with the opportunity to explore this theme on their own and develop empathy for them, which makes them more inclusive and accommodating in the long run.
Books written for this age group can also help introduce difficult subjects like grief, fear, self-control, believing in one’s own self, taking risks, and so on. When they read and relate with the protagonist, they can learn from their experiences and build courage. This provides an outlet for understanding and coping with complex emotions in a format that is suitable for little kids.
Here are some of our recommendations:
- When I Feel (series)
- Picture Story Books – Scaredy Bear
- Up and Down
- The Bad-Tempered Ladybird
- Disney The Jungle Book It Takes Two
Reading helps children focus and increase their attention span. Since most of the books for 2-5-year-olds contain bright illustrations and simple, captivating texts, it engages the minds of young children and keeps them away from distractions. Reading is a skill that only gets better with practice. The more children read – or are read to – the better they get at concentrating on texts. Needless to say, this is a skill they’ll require for the rest of their lives, especially during their academic years.
Reading at this age also sparks a love for this hobby. Picture books specifically create an engaging reading experience for children. These are the books that make children fall in love with the concept of reading. Browsing through books on a daily basis can help naturally instill a routine of reading, thereby making it a mandatory activity throughout their lives. When kids take liking to a particular book, they usually ask to read it again and again. It means that the book has been able to generate interest in your little one. By letting kids choose their own books, making them read often and giving them enough options to explore new genres, you can ensure that your child develops a healthy habit of reading.
Now that we have explored the benefits of fiction for early readers, let’s look at a few genres or types of books that you must introduce to your children:
These books generally talk about fabricated faraway lands with magical elements. They often contain mystical creatures and people, and are based on make-believe events. Fairy tales support the growth of imagination in children. They teach kids a number of life lessons and prepare them to face the good and evil present in the world.
Our recommendations are:
This genre has well-developed storylines portrayed through animal characters, which appeals to little children. They have fun and exciting plots that kids can enjoy. These books always have a moral lesson at the end which is extremely educational for growing children. With regular perusal, these ideas and lessons get embedded in their minds which they end up carrying throughout their lives.
Here are some books you can try:
- Aesop’s Fables – The Dog in the Manger And Other Aesop’s Fables
- Aesop’s Fables – The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing And Other Aesop’s Fables
- Panchatantra Fox & Grapes/Old Man His Three Sons 2in1
Introduces children to science and its possibilities via engaging storylines, futuristic developments and hypothetical situations in the universe. Mentions scientific facts and principles in a fun, interactive manner.
Usually set in the backdrop of some historical event. The stories are based on actual events that transpired in the past. Since these stories are set in the past, they educate children about their own history and help them reconstruct events that have already occurred. It makes them more aware and knowledgeable as pupils.
- Noah’s Ark
- Dinosaur Adventures Diplodocus The Dippy Idea
- Greek Myths The Wooden Horse of Troy
- Bala Ramayana
This is the most common out of all genres. These are stories based on ‘real-life’ experiences of people that could very well happen. These contain relatable characters and plots. They acquaint children with real emotions, sentiments and feelings. These kinds of books mostly have a contemporary setting. Realistic fiction helps children prepare for and handle different challenging situations in their lives.
Our top picks are:
These are mainly the oral-literary traditions of humankind. They are an essential part of our heritage that should be passed down from generations to generations. Since most of them are based on oral accounts, they usually have no credited authors. Myths, heroic stories, traditional stories, legends, etc. are all part of this genre.
- Krishna an Invisible Friend
- Panchatantra Crow & Jackal/Barber & Sages 2in1
- Hearing Seeing Smelling… Ganesha
- Up Up and Away Hanuman
Checkout our entire storybook collection fit for preschoolers!
So, what are you waiting for? Browse from our amazing collection of fiction for 2 – 5 year olds and get your little ones ready to face the world!