Advice from a Teacher: Wordless Books

Advice from a teacher for: parents, grandparents,or caregivers
Created by a former 8th grader

Created by one of my former 8th graders

This new category is for the summer in place of my Tuesday is for Teachers. I’ll refer to the children you care for regularly or randomly as “your” children

I love wordlesss books. They give the child the opportunity to write the story and create the dialogue. With very young children, you can point out details and tell a story, but you can also ask them to identify objects in the pictures. Author Bob Staarke suggests asking starter questions but not leading questions. If your questions guide the story, the child is influenced by your story. Read the books again and again by challenging readers to make a different story each time.

When my daughter was a pre-schooler I discovered the books of the Dutchman, Peter Spier. If you have never seen his books, look for one at your public library. Rain.2One of my favorites is Rain. The details in his illustrations provide endless places to create a new story. The pictures are so rich that older children will find the story entertaining with a little encouragement from you.

We also loved his Christmas book, Bored – Nothing to Do, and Oh, Were They Ever Happy!Bored

Mark Ludy is an artist/illustrator with this fabulous sense of humor that sneaks into his pictures. He creates many stories within one book and includes Squeakers, a small gray mouse, on every page. He challenges readers to find each well-hidden picture of Squeakers. The Flower Man, a wordless picture book, provides a powerful metaphor  of small contributions that can change a neighborhood but also contains over 60 pictures to discover.  The story begins with a village intricately drawn in black and white and a lone man and his little dog crossing the bridge to the village — but he is in color. The drawings are so rich in detail you must read it again and again to catch the humor, irony, and stories of each character.flowerman

Aaron Becker was awarded the 2014 Caldecott honor award for his wordless book, Journey. He says, “The child becomes ‘a causal part of the story.'” In other words the child causes the story to move ahead according to their imagination. Journey

The website has some great booklists and reviews to help make decisions on book choices. I like this site because they provide other books in the same genre you might like.

I’ve not even mentioned the many board books for very young preschoolers who can be introduced to books as soon as they still in your lap while you hold the book in front of them.

Today’s list is just a sample of the outstanding books available today. Drop by your local library and ask a librarian to help you find some wordless books. Summer is a great time to read!

Good Readers ——-

  1. have better vocabularies. Research has shown that children with large vocabularies have a distinct advantage over those who don’t. Tell stories at meal times with your kids. Encourage play – make-believe or pretend. Of course to do this you have to turn off the “screen” (TV, phone, pad, games, etc.)
  2. preview and summarize. Spend time looking at a book cover, ask child to predict what the story is about. Stop reading after a few pages and say, “Tell me what is happening.” Prediction triggers deeper comprehension.
  3. picture a story in the mind. Point out the facial expression of a character or details of pictures in the story.                                                            —–from Reader’s Digest

Last week’s post provided resources and reasons for encouraging reading in children of all ages, so if you missed it, click here.

What are some of your favorite wordless books?

Happy summer reading!

I am thankful for summer:  a worn quilt spread under a tree and time to read to children. I’ve had the joy this week to read to a three year old great-niece!

Ezri and Aunt Martell

Ezri and Aunt Martell





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