Using Children’s Books to Boost Imagination

Boosting Imagination With Reading

There are many benefits when it comes to children reading books. A 2015 US study which looked at the effects of different toys on children’s learning found that traditional toys, including books, were more effective in increasing the quantity and quality of language than modern electronic toys. The small-scale study looked at 26 children aged 10 to 16 months, and found that along with traditional toys, such as wooden puzzles and shape-sorters, reading encouraged “a rich communicative interaction between parents and infants,” with parents talking more and using more vocabulary associated with themes in the book than when playing.

“Reading encouraged “a rich communicative interaction between parents and infants,””

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Research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting suggested that reading to children as babies could boost their literacy skills for years to come. The researchers found that mothers reading to babies during early infancy boosted language, vocabulary, and literacy skills, with results lasting up to four years later. In addition, the team also found that the quality of the books read strongly affected early reading skills, while both the quality and quantity of books read had a strong impact on children’s later literacy skills, such as being able to write their name at age four.

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How To Boost Imagination With Reading

A small-scale 2015 study of 19 preschoolers aged three to five showed for the first time that reading during early childhood appears to have a measurable and positive effect on the brain. After measuring how much parent-child reading the children were exposed to at home, the researchers took MRI scans of the children’s brains while they were listening to stories via headphones. They found that children exposed to more reading showed increased brain activity in the areas critical for oral language and reading, as well as the areas linked to mental imagery, which can boost children’s imagination and enable them to “see” the story.

Children’s imaginations are amazing things that respond brilliantly to being “sparked”. Anyone that’s played imagination games with children, even as they approach the teenage years, will know that the scope of their imagination can be beyond anything you remember from your childhood. Pebbles on the beach can become ships on the sea, a cardboard box can become a sports car and the most simple pieces of furniture can be a roller coaster. When the imagination kicks in, children can start imagining past and future events, and this also gets their cognitive development fired up. New knowledge is learned through the imagination, as curiosity comes out and they begin to engage in objects and situations on another level. By taking their imagination to a totally new place through reading, you’re offering them the chance to engage in new worlds and characters, potentially creating more acceptance of the unknown to the child, and also giving them the chance to make up their own. Have you ever read a book with a child and stopped before the ending to ask them how they think it’ll end? Or as how certain characters might behave in different situations? All of this helps to set their problem-solving brain off, and get them thinking in a way that they hadn’t before. Exercising the brain like this helps to encourage analytical and emotional thought. By feeding all these parts of the brain you’re helping to give the child a wealth of skillsets and growth, all from reading a book and firing up the imagination!

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Vocabulary Support

Norwegian research which looked at 1,171 first-grade pupils and their parents found that children whose parents read to them in early childhood and who grew up in homes with lots of books were better-prepared to learn to read when starting school, in part due to having a larger vocabulary. Children who were read to before age two, and who had access to plenty of children’s books had a vocabulary that is almost twice that of those who have less books at home and who were only read aloud to after the age of four years, added the researchers. A wide vocabulary helps boost children’s reading, and ups school performance, as children understand more of what is happening and find it easier to keep up in class.

Check out our gallery pages to see all the books we have worked on, and click on each one to find out how to buy that book!

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love