Have you ever read a book and then watched the movie that was based on the book? Did you feel disappointed that the movie didn’t live up to what your imagination had envisioned? This happens all the time. As we read our minds are filled with the “pictures” that go along with the text. No matter how fantastical the book is we are reading, our minds find a way to invent the visual details. Sometimes when I am reading with my daughters I find that they rely on the visual cues from the pictures in the books to help tell the story. The use of pictures is a very effective tool for early readers. The pictures allow children to make associations between words and their meaning. They make the reading predictable for early readers. But, what if we took away the pictures? What if we left it up to our kids imagination to create the pictures? What would the book look like then?
We decided to try removing the artist’s images from the text. I asked my daughter to lay down on the floor of our living room, with her eyes closed. She got comfortable on a blanket.
|my daughter getting comfortable and ready to listen|
I then read her a story that she had never heard before. She sat silently, with her eyes closed, listening and imagining. We removed all other distractions from the room; closed the blinds, turned off the radio, etc. After reading the story we discussed what had happened in the book. I even had my daughter draw a picture of what the story was all about. It was pretty amazing how closely her pictures resembled those of the illustrator.
We then sat down and read the book again, with the pictures. At the end I asked if the book looked like what she had imagined? My daughter had imagined the main characters as looking a little different…the mean woman looked much meaner in the book. She told me she really enjoyed listening to the book and wants to try it again.
The human brain is so fascinating!