Picture books with too many illustrations ‘hinder children’s vocabulary learning’

The TES reports that a new study suggests that more than one illustration per double-page distracts children and impacts on their learning.
 
Everyone knows how much children like brightly coloured picture books. But these books are, in fact, hindering children’s vocabulary learning, a new study shows.
 
Children who see more than one illustration at a time do not learn new words from storybooks, according to the research by psychologists at the University of Sussex. 
 
The academics read to early years pupils from books with only one illustration per double page, and also from books with illustrations on both left and right pages of the spread. The illustrations introduced the children to new objects, named on the page.
 
Zoe Flack, one of the authors of the paper, said: “Children who are too young to read themselves don’t know where to look, because they are not following the text. This has a dramatic impact on how well they learn new words from stories.”
 
Jessica Horst, the co-author of the paper, said that previous studies have shown that adding lift-up flaps and anthropomorphic animals to storybooks also decreases learning.
 
 
Are pictures a help or a hindrance? What’s your experience? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
 

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