Today's post was actually inspired by a trip to a library. I recently visited the Mie Prefectural Library. I love that library because it has a huge section of foreign books--French, Spanish, German, English, their range of books is truly impressive. I got really excited when I walked in, and I found myself wondering why I love reading so much.
The answer I came up with is this: I began to love reading because of positive experiences with picture books in elementary school. My teachers showed me the joy of reading by being excited when they read stories to the class and by introducing us to picture books with amazing art and fun stories. One such book was "Where the Wild Things Are". It tells the story of a boy who was naughty and sent to his room without supper. Using his imagination, he sails to a land of monsters and becomes their king. Eventually he decides to go back, but the monsters don't want him to go... The pictures in that book are detailed and interesting. There aren't too many words, so that encourages kids to try reading it on their own. Finally, the boy becoming king of the monsters is inspiring to young kids who might still be scared of imaginary monsters hiding in dark places around their home.
When I was growing up, there were even TV shows that encouraged reading. "Reading Rainbow" introduced me to new books and showed me kids getting excited about books that they had read. The TV show "Wishbone" featured a "talking" dog (named Wishbone) who acted out popular book stories and encouraged viewers to read the original books. I think these TV shows also helped create my interest in books. Are there similar TV shows in Japan that encourage kids to read books?
Picture books are great for beginner-level English students of any age because you can start to understand the rhythm of English sentences and you won't get discouraged by too many words or grammar tenses.
[I read Japanese picture books when I was in college and had just learned hiragana and katakana. I got really excited when I could finally read my Japanese picture books and manga quickly, although I am still working at reading entire Japanese novels.]
If you want to check out some good English picture books, here are some recommendations . You can also get ideas by checking Amazon Japan and reading reviews there.
Do you have any favorite picture books from your childhood?
Are you interested in checking out some English picture books?
If yes, please leave a comment below (^_^)/