Reading the Pictures


Our house has always been a house of books.  We started reading to our kids at an early age.  Our Jillian Jiggs collection is totally tattered and most of our baby books will find their way to the recycle bin instead of being handed down to another family.  When our kids started kindergarten they were all very behind on reading though. I think it’s because we spent most of our reading time looking at the pictures, making up our own stories and having the kids listen more than read.  I’m not sure what the first steps to reading really are, but I think the very first step is touching books and we definitely did that.

Our kids are picking up reading quickly, (in my humble non-teacher opinion).  Isabella and Brooklyn both started Grade One knowing very few sight words and by Christmas of their respective years they were reading their bedtime stories to me.  Brooklyn is still very excited to be reading. She now only needs help with names of people and places, and those words that follow absolutely none of the rules of English.  She asks to do her reading website practice almost daily and she smiles, no matter how tired, when we cuddle up and read before bed.

Isabella is a bit of a different story.  Grade One held the same literary enthusiasm as it did for Brooklyn, but Grade Two is proving to be a whole new world. She gets bored very easily and gives up when she gets bored.  She stopped reading challenging books and seemed to start to dislike reading.  Until she found the Stiltons.

geronimo-stilton Thea-Stilton

Have you met Geronimo and Thea?

Isabella started bringing home the Geronimo Stilton books from the library earlier this year.  We haven’t yet made it through a book as we only read a chapter or two at bedtime and Isabella insists on returning her library books each week, (she loves new things, even when they’re just borrowed). But I know that Geronimo lives in New Mouse City and works at the Rodent Gazette.  I’ve met his nephew and his sister and followed them around the globe.  My favourite so far being to Alaska.

Even though we haven’t read one through, Isabella continues to bring them home week after week and finally she insisted on spending her paper route money on a hardcover Thea Stilton book.  We may actually finish this one.

Technically the Geronimo/Thea Stilton books are considered graphic novels.  From what I can tell they originated in Italy and the author writes under the pseudonyms of the Stiltons.  They were first written in Milan in 2000 and have been written in English since 2004, I am grateful to Scholastic and Elisabetta Dami for bringing the Stiltons to our library.


Isabella is a very visual person and loves to be doing artistic things.  She colours and draws for hours.  Loves video games and prefers to learn things through TV shows rather than conversation.  It’s important to me that she doesn’t lose the love of reading she had in Grade One.  That she doesn’t stop reading.  She has yet to fall asleep with a book in her hand, begging for just five minutes more, so she can follow Alice down a rabbit hole, or Lucy into a wardrobe or meet Anne or Laura.

I read all. the. time. as a kid and found so many wonderful worlds.  I continue to do so as an adult and I believe my life is richer because of it.  I have always been able to read words and see it in my head. Maybe Isabella’s mind works opposite of mine. Maybe she needs to see it so she can put words to it. These books are written with such a simple concept, to draw a word instead of type it, but it’s making all the difference in keeping my visual learner’s nose in a book.

Creative solutions enhancing life, who won’t say cheers to that.

3 Comments on “Reading the Pictures

  1. That series sounds like it is working for Isabella. Can you let us know what books she needs? What books does Brooklyn like? Nick didn’t like reading but Andrew loved to read and still does. They are all different, aren’t they? I have to read or I get very frustrated. I could always imagine everything that was written on the page. Reading is such an enriching resource. Thank you for making it important in their lives.

  2. Isabella only has the Journey to Atlantis book, the rest she just borrows from the library. Brooklyn hasn’t picked a series or anything like that. She’s reading whatever she can get her hands on, not yet chapter books. She likes to finish them in one sitting. She enjoys the Fancy Nancy easy readers, we have a handful but not all of them.

    • I borrowed The Journey to Atlantis from the library. What a great series. I love the book. The illustrations are wonderful and the type is so varied and fun to read. Isabella made a great choice. Let me know what books they don’t have. Can you tell that I LOVE books!

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