Wordless Picture Books

Why read wordless picture books?

  • Reading wordless picture books helps children build vocabulary, practice making predictions and inferences, and learn to tell organized stories with a beginning, middle, and end. These skills provide a strong foundation for learning to read and write.

  • It's a fun way to use your imagination!


Tips for reading wordless picture books:

  • Start with a picture walk. As you go through the book, talk about the pictures. Here are some ideas:

    • Talk about words your child might not know: "This is a microscope. Scientists use it to look at really tiny things that are hard to see."

    • Ask your child to predict what will happen next. What clues did they use to make their prediction?

    • Talk about what characters are thinking and feeling.

    • Identify story grammar: characters, setting, the problem in the story, how the characters try to solve the problem, and the solution.

    • Give your child plenty of time to respond to your questions or to come up with their own ideas. It's okay if your child's answers don't make sense. You can say something like, "That's an interesting idea. Let's see what happens" and let your child discover if their prediction was correct.

  • After you've completed your picture walk, ask your child to read the book to you. Encourage them to use their imagination and be creative. 

    • Depending on your child's age, they may use voices for the characters and embellish the story.

    • You can ask your child questions to help make their story more complete, or just let your child tell the story their way.

    • This can be empowering for children who can't read yet or who struggle with reading. Creating positive associations with books can support their literacy development. Experienced readers will also have fun creating their own story.

  • Most importantly, remember to have fun! 

Where to find wordless picture books:

  • Goldfish Genius, the book we talk about in the video, is published by BookDash, an organization that provides free books and e-books. They have several other wordless picture books available for free on their website.

  • Check out your local library or bookstore. There are many wordless picture books with beautiful illustrations. Some of our favorites are:

    • Tuesday, by David Wiesner

    • Chalk, by Bill Thomson

    • The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs

Goldfish Genius by Thea Nicole de Klerk, Sam Wilson, Chenél Ferreira, and Ester Levinrad (November 2017), used under CC BY 4.0 / Source files adapted by The KidTalk Team from the original (October 2020)

This work is funded by the National Science Foundation

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© 2020 by KidTalk: Language Scrapbooking for Science

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