What to do with a Wordless Book

Wordless books are a wonderfully personal way to engage with print. They allow both children and parents to tell a story their own way and to focus their attention on aspects of the book that are interesting to them. However, they may sometimes pose a storytelling challenge especially if they’re a recent introduction to the family library.  There are many ways to enjoy a wordless book together as a family, and we’ve gone ahead and gathered a few things you might want to try at home.

  • Look at each illustration closely and identify various items throughout the page, labeling each one to help children build their vocabulary and develop a familiarity with the book
  • Think of each illustration as its own stand-alone artwork and talk about what you see, taking the time to identify objects, actions and even emotions and facial expressions
  • Model storytelling by inventing a storyline and telling it to your child. You can repeat the storyline several times or invent a new one with each reading
  • Stop throughout the book and allow your child to predict what might happen next. Ask open ended questions frequently
  • Find ways to relate different aspects of the book to your child’s own life. An upcoming trip to the doctor? A visit to grandma’s? First day of school? You’re sure to find plenty to relate to
  • Make a note of words frequently used by your child throughout the storytelling activity and reuse these words to create a sense of ownership and familiarity
  • Take the book beyond the page! Act out a storyline as a family, play a game inspired by the book, etc…

Wordless books have wonderful applications in the classroom too. If you’re a teacher, there are some wonderful benefits to making wordless books a part of your classroom library. Wordless books expand the imagination, give your students a chance to express themselves in terms they are comfortable with, and boost the confidence of kids who either have not yet learned to read or who are struggling readers. Here are some tips on using wordless books in the classroom. You can pick and choose from the most age and ability appropriate ones

  • Act out a wordless book! You can either choose specific scenes or act out the whole story
  • Allow your students to take on the role of storytellers by giving them the chance to tell their own stories out loud to their peers
  • Draw a prequel or sequel to the story. For example, for the book “Where?” (Any?), your students can draw mom at the grocery store, or the adventures of the ladybug flying outside
  • Are your students learning how to write? Give them the chance to practice by writing their own words to a wordless book

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