Just because a book doesn’t have words, doesn’t mean it can’t help your child learn how to read! In fact, wordless picture books are crazy beneficial for early literacy development. Your little one will be gaining so many positive benefits just from exploring beautiful illustrations. Are you ready to learn how? After reading, you will know:
- what wordless picture books are
- how wordless picture books support early literacy and their many benefits
- how you can use these books with your little
- my absolute favorite wordless books you should try today
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What are Wordless Picture Books?
Wordless picture books are simply picture books that have no words. The story is told through the illustrations of the book.
It is up to the reader to interpret the story using the sequence of illustrations.
How Do Wordless Picture Books Support Early Literacy?
Wordless picture books are incredible for supporting early literacy. Let’s take a look at how your little reader can develop by using these types of books.
As your little is learning new language skills, they are slowly acquiring new vocabulary words and learning how to string words together to make sentences.
Using a wordless picture book takes the pressure off of “reading” the story, but encourages them to use their own language and vocabulary to “read” the pictures.
Narrative skills are the ability to tell a story in a sequential order.
Wordless picture books allow children to practice telling a story from beginning to end because they can use the pictures to support their storytelling.
What are the Benefits of Wordless Picture Books?
While wordless picture books support early literacy, there are so many other ways that they benefit your child’s development as well.
Promotes Creativity and Imagination
Since there are no words to read in a wordless picture book, you aren’t tied down to a specific storyline.
Your little reader can really get creative while imagining what story the pictures are telling. Your child gets to make up the story as they study the pictures.
Boosts Language Development
The ability of wordless picture books to boost language development is worth repeating.
When your child is looking at these picture books, they are intently studying what is happening in the pictures. They are certainly going to try to express what they think is happening in those illustrations.
This will help them develop more vocabulary and get some more practice stringing words and sentences together.
Uses Critical Thinking
Wordless picture books encourage critical thinking through unintentionally forcing them to ask questions about what they see in the pictures.
They may even get some practice with predicting and inferring as they try to determine what story the pictures are telling them.
Bolsters Reading Comprehension
“Reading” a wordless picture book helps bring light to the structure of a story.
Young children will be intrigued by the characters and what they are doing. They will notice their actions and expressions as they study the pictures, increasing their awareness of the impact that characters have on a story.
Children will also notice the setting and the plot, gaining an understanding that stories have a beginning, middle, and end with a problem and a solution.
These wordless picture books help to support an understanding of story elements and strengthen your child’s comprehension of a book.
How to Use Wordless Picture Books
There are many ways to use wordless picture books to help support your child in their reading development.
You can simply have your child explore a book themselves. This will allow them to gain exposure to these types of books and will spark their critical thinking.
If you are letting your child openly explore a wordless picture book, try to create opportunities for critical thinking, creativity, and language development.
Ask questions like:
- What is happening in this picture here? How do you know?
- How do you think this character is feeling on this page?
- What do you think will happen next?
You can also encourage your child to “read” you the story using the illustrations for support. It is important to sit back and let your child do the work during this storytelling. Encourage them with questions like the ones above and phrases like:
- That’s such an important part of the story you noticed.
- Wow, I didn’t notice that that character was feeling sad. How did you know that?
Best Wordless Picture Books for Preschoolers
Below are some of my favorite wordless picture books. Although you can use wordless picture books with children of any age, I find that these are perfect for the developmental stages of preschoolers and can particularly encourage them on their literacy journey.
Mr. Wuffles by David Weisner
A very cute point-of-view story, Mr. Wuffles tells the story of a picky cat who only shows interest in a peculiar toy…that really isn’t what it seems!
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola
Pancakes for Breakfast is a delightful story of just how difficult it is for one little, old lady to just make some pancakes when everything just seems to be going wrong.
Rain by Peter Spier
Rain tells the story of how two children make the most of a rainy day in their backyard.
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
This classic story shows that kindness really does pay off. When a mouse really wants to be friends with a ferocious lion, the lion wants nothing to do with him. But it turns out that the lion may need a friend after all.
The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
This book depicts a little girl’s journey through the pages of a little red book. See where the red book takes her!
Wave by Suzy Lee
This adorable book describes a little girl’s day at the beach and her encounter with a wave. You will love her reactions in the simple illustrations that bring her adventure to life.
A Ball for Daisy by Dave Raschka
In this book, a dog’s beloved toy is broken by a bigger dog. The illustrations perfectly show the happiness and sadness that our favorite toy can bring us.
Fly! by Mark Teague
This funny wordless book depicts how baby bird may not always agree with what mama bird says. Find out what kind of silly ideas baby bird has to get his way!
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
This wordless book takes you on a nighttime adventure to explore all of the things you may find (and hear) in nature in the dark.
A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer
This black and white picture book tells the story of a boy and his dog who spot a frog in the swamp and wonder how they can catch him. This book is part of a series that follow the boy and his dog on many other adventures!
Give Wordless Picture Books a Try!
So there you have it. My favorite wordless picture books to read with preschoolers and a few techniques to try when reading them. I hope that you will break out of the traditional picture book mold and give a wordless book a try. They do have so much to offer your little one!
If you are looking for more traditional books, check out some books for baby’s library that can help you build a strong reading foundation at home.
What are some of your favorite books to read with your little? Have you tried any wordless books? Let me know in the comments below!