Reading With Images: Exploring Wordless Picture Books

Wordless books are sub-genre of picture books that use vivid illustrations and graphic storytelling to create a captivating story. Sharing wordless books with children can build important literacy skills. When you read a wordless book with your child, you reinforce listening skills, vocabulary, visual comprehension and instill an awareness of story structure. These books can also give your child a chance to be creative and tell the story in their own words while giving them the flexibility to change it up with each reading!

Reading can be hard to master for beginners—reading wordless picture books can build confidence in young children. These books effectively tell the story without the need for text and therefore can engage reluctant readers without the added anxiety of needing to know the words. In addition wordless picture books can help visual learners use their abilities to observe with a keen and thoughtful eye.

Without a clear narrative to guide the plot, wordless books leave a lot open to interpretation. Their use of artwork and imagery encourages kids to infer context clues to figure out the story.Through the use of imagery alone, these books teach kids to summarize, make inferences, evaluate visual information and make connections. The skills that children learn from interpreting these books will be a factor in decoding text later as they grow as readers! 

Wordless books welcome retelling. When you reread a wordless picture with your child it there is always an opportunity to take the story in a new direction. You and your child can come up with new interpretations of the story and take it countless different directions. It will get your kids excited about reading when they are able to spin the story in their unique voice!

LPL has a wide variety of wordless picture books for you to share with your kids. Here is a short list of some of my personal favorites:

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Inside a tent it's cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight!

The Snow Rabbit by Princesse Camcam

Two sisters look longingly through their window at the snowy sky. One goes out and sculpts a little rabbit, but when she brings it back inside to her wheelchair-bound sister, it begins to melt. So they take it outside and into the forest where enchanted things begin to happen.

Moletown by Torben Kuhlmann

Torben Kulhmann's stunningly illustrated, nearly wordless tale offers a fascinating window into an imaginary, yet hauntingly familiar world under our feet, where a mole suddenly recognizes the precarious balance between progress and preservation.

Fly! by Mark Teague

Mama bird thinks it's time for Baby bird's first flight, but Baby bird has other ideas!

Chalk by Bill Thomson

Three children discover a magical bag of chalk on a rainy day.

Float by Daniel Miyares

A little boy takes a boat made of newspaper out for a rainy-day adventure. The boy and his boat dance in the downpour and play in the puddles, but when the boy sends his boat floating down a gutter stream, it quickly gets away from him.