Tips for Using Wordless Books in the Classroom

8:00 AM

Do you have a collection of wordless books in your classroom? Do your students gravitate towards those books? Or do you have students who shy away because they are too easy or considered to be baby books? It's time to set the record straight! Wordless books are for everyone! In fact, they often eliminate barriers for struggling readers. In these books, the rich illustrations quickly invite readers to become the author. Here are some ways you can read wordless books with students.

Do you have a collection of wordless books in your classroom? Do your students gravitate towards those books? Or do you have students who shy away because they are too easy or considered to be baby books? It's time to set the record straight! Wordless books are for everyone! In fact, they often eliminate barriers for struggling readers. In these books, the rich illustrations quickly invite readers to become the author. Here are some ways you can read wordless books with students.


What are Wordless Books?
A wordless book tells a story solely through its illustrations. These books are a valuable literacy tool because they engage children of all ages and abilities to predict, question, sequence, analyze, and construct meaning. Wordless books provide opportunities for developing vocabulary and having rich discussions about story structure.

How to Read a Wordless Book

Book Cover and Title Page
Just as you would with any other book you are about to read, you should start with the book cover and title page. Ask your students questions. What do you notice? What clues do you see about the story? Does the title give you an idea of what the story will be about? What does an illustrator do? Why are illustrations or pictures important to a story?

Make a Prediction
Based on the cover and title page, what do you think this story is about?

Take a Picture Walk
Look through the pages of the book for enjoyment. Stop and point out anything that immediately draws your attention. Ask, how does the story match the title and cover illustration?

Read the Story
In the beginning, you might need to take the lead and model the different ways to read a wordless book. Be sure to let the discussion determine how much time is spent with each page.
  • Beginning with the first page, point to details you notice in the illustrations.
  • Describe what you see and connect those images with rich vocabulary and word choice.
  • Ask questions (What if...? Why do you think...?, etc.).
  • Use sequencing words (next, then, later, etc).
  • Invite students to use their schema to make connections.
  • Invite students to confirm or change their predictions.
When your students become more comfortable, take turns reading the pages. If reading in a small group, have a moment of silence for all students to gather their thoughts. Then let students share and build upon one another's stories.

Do you have a collection of wordless books in your classroom? Do your students gravitate towards those books? Or do you have students who shy away because they are too easy or considered to be baby books? It's time to set the record straight! Wordless books are for everyone! In fact, they often eliminate barriers for struggling readers. In these books, the rich illustrations quickly invite readers to become the author. Here are some ways you can read wordless books with students.



Questions for Wordless Books
Do you still feel stuck on what to talk about? Here are some questions you might ask when sharing a wordless book with your students. Every wordless book is different, so get creative and let your students help guide the discussion.
  • Does the title give you a clue to what the story might be about?
  • What do you notice in the illustrations?
  • What do you think this book will be about?
  • What is happening?
  • Who is this story about?
  • What does this character want or need?
  • What is this character feeling? How do you know?
  • Have you ever felt this way?
  • When and where does this story take place?
  • What season is it? How do you know?
  • Is there anything unfamiliar about this setting?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • If you were the character, what would you do?
  • Was there anything you would add to this book?
  • Was there anything you would take out of this book?
  • What was your favorite part?
  • What was your least favorite part?
  • Have you ever had an experience like the one in this story?
  • Which illustrations helped you tell the story?
  • Which illustration would you have chosen for the cover of the book and why?
  • What happened at the beginning of the story?
  • What happened it the middle of the story?
  • What happened at the end of the story?
  • Why do you think this book doesn't have words?
  • Do you think this book needs words to tell the story and why?

My Favorite Wordless Books
You can find all of my favorite wordless books in this blog post. If you have a favorite that isn't listed, be sure to leave a comment. I'm always looking to add more books to my collection.

https://storiesbystorie.com/wordless-picture-books-for-kids/

Wordless Book Extension Ideas
When you reach the end of a wordless book, don't be so quick to put it back on the shelf. There are so many things your kids can do to engage and interact with the book. Here are a few ideas you might try:
  • Create a word list of nouns, verbs, etc.
  • Act out parts of the story and allow students to add dialogue.
  • Add sticky notes to the pages with words about what is happening.
  • Identify character feelings and emotions.
  • Take the book apart (or make copies) and have students put the story back together.
  • Write the story. Give each student (or small group) one page of the story. Have them write a sentence about what they think is happening on the page. Gather all of the pages together and read the new story.
  • Change the setting. How would this book be different if it took place in another place or season?
  • Have students create a wordless book of their own. Students can either draw illustrations or take photographs for their book. Place these in the classroom for all students to enjoy.



So grab a wordless book or two and teach your students just how amazing they really are!

Keep Reading!
Do you have a collection of wordless books in your classroom? Do your students gravitate towards those books? Or do you have students who shy away because they are too easy or considered to be baby books? It's time to set the record straight! Wordless books are for everyone! In fact, they often eliminate barriers for struggling readers. In these books, the rich illustrations quickly invite readers to become the author. Here are some ways you can read wordless books with students.


by Storie

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