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The Power of Reading Picture Books to Young Children (Online Course) Review by Kari Lynn Dundass

Patricia M. Hart, Ph. D.
401 S High Street
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387

Reading books together in our home is of upmost importance. I was excited to have the opportunity to review The Power of Reading Picture Books to Young Children by Patricia M. Hart, Ph.D. in order to learn more about maximizing the benefit from our family reading time.

The Power of Reading Picture Books to Young Children is an incredible course that teaches parents how to make their reading time with their children more valuable. This course is designed for parents and family members of young children between the ages of birth and five years old. This course assists parents and family members by teaching various techniques that can enhance the reading experience for children.

The course includes five video lessons, plus an introductory and a conclusion video for the cost of $19.99. There are supplementary worksheets and reading material for each lesson. There is also a searchable bibliography that includes over four hundred and fifty picture books that have been carefully selected. These picture books build on the concepts discussed in the course. Each video is approximately between five and ten minutes and shows parents and/or grandparents reading a variety of books to children along with a photo of the title being read. This is a great way to see first-hand the recommended techniques when reading together and how to keep the child interested depending on their developmental level. The videos discuss various strategies that can have an impact on your child’s learning. At the end of each video, numerous other recommended titles are shown. Some of the lessons also include a worksheet to help you put the content of the videos into practice. I found these to be very helpful in getting me to think about what was discussed and applying them to our book choices.

The five lessons include vocabulary, reading to infants and toddlers, cognition and memory, social development and illustrations. The lessons discuss improving your child’s vocabulary through reading and strategies for reading to infants and toddlers. The course covers the concept of how picture books develop cognitive thinking and memory skills and enhance your child’s social development. It has some great advice on how to select the books that are appropriate for your child’s age and cognitive ability.

I have a six year old, three year old and a one year old. This course was perfect as I was able to put it into practice with a variety of ages. It really made me think about what we were reading, why we were reading it, and what my children were learning from each book. We worked through a lesson every week and I enjoyed applying the techniques in our reading time. I am now more conscious of the books that we choose, and we are applying the lessons from the course in our daily routine. For example, we chose some of the recommended books which include alliteration and poetry. It led to a great discussion with my oldest about what alliteration is. We plan to continue to use our local library and the bibliography list to help us select age appropriate books.

One aspect that I love the most about this course is that it encourages you, the parent, to access your local library and it provides tips on using the library to surround children with quality books. Prior to this course, we did not access our public library resources very often. This course encouraged me to make more regular visits and we hope to work through the bibliography list as a family.

Sometimes, as parents, we can get lost in everyday life and forget the importance of picture books. This course does an incredible job at showing parents how to read to their child in order to engage them and build a love of reading.

-Product review by Kari Lynn Dundass, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2018