Wordless picture books are an amazing tool to teach with! I’ve received many requests on how to implement these fascinating books into your classrooms. While wordless pictures books are great, they are used a bit differently in the classroom, and require a bit more time and prep.
I’m sharing all of these books on video as well! Check out the Wordless Picture Books Read Aloud video on my Youtube channel.
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How to Teach with Wordless Picture Books
When deciding to use a wordless picture book in your classroom, make sure you allot for a bit of extra time and start by preparing your students by prefacing that there are no words in this story. And, make sure everyone can see the story because if they can’t see the book well then…there is no purpose! I always loved pulling out my document camera because everyone could see the pictures.
It is a great time to remind your students to pay attention to the images and details they see on each page. You can start by using a picture walk that goes through each page without discussion, giving your students time to think about what is going on on each page. After doing a picture walk, you will go through the story again to re-read page by page with discussion this time. It can be beneficial to have questions already written down for your students.
You can ask them questions such as:
- What do you think is happening?
- If there were words, what would they say?
- What do they notice or wonder?
After reading the story, you can have students retell the story on their own either in a whole group, with partners, or even give them an opportunity for a writing activity. Then regroup together to share interpretations- this is my favorite part because the creativity from students is just amazing!
For the last part of a read-aloud, I would always grab the summary from inside the book or the internet to compare and contrast. Does your student’s interpretation match the author’s purpose? Wordless picture books are engaging and support visual literacy, aids in understanding story elements, deepens inferencing skills and promotes creativity and imagination among your students.
Are you ready to do a wordless picture book read-aloud in your classroom? Here is a list of some of my favorite wordless picture books that your students will not only engage with but will love!
Wordless Read-Aloud Books
Journey by: Aaron Becker
Journey is the story of a young girl who uses her imagination to take her to another world. She uses her magic red crayon to lead her to a world filled with wonders, adventure, and even a bit of danger. This story is part of a great wordless picture book trilogy.
The Lion and The Mouse by: Jerry Pinkney
The Lion and The Mouse is a wordless adaption of one of Aesop’s most beloved fables. It is a beautiful portrayal with incredible illustrations. Each picture pulls out so many emotions. The drawings will capture your students as they truly tell the story in an expressive way. A must-read!
Flotsam by: David Wiesner
Flotsam Is the story of a curious boy who finds a washed-up camera while visiting the beach. We follow along as he decides to develop the film. This is an intriguing and captivating story. It’s thought-provoking with excellent illustrations. It’s really easy to follow, and your students will enjoy this one.
Tuesday by: David Wiesner
Tuesday shows how illustrations can tell a powerful story. There are so many exciting and intriguing things that happen in this story! A great read-aloud to remind your students about the importance of paying attention to detail.
I Walk with Vanessa
I Walk with Vanessa is one of my favorite word-less books, and I have shared it in my previous posts about kindness. This book emphasizes how a simple act of kindness can be powerful. Your students will be able to connect to this story on a variety of different levels. I highly recommend this one.
What are some of your favorite wordless picture books?
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