No Words Needed: The Power of Wordless Picture Books [Guest Post]

I love all kinds of books, and I read not just to enjoy a good story, but to find out what makes a book “work.” That includes wordless books.

My first memory of wordless books was when “everyone” was reading and raving about Shaun Tan’s The Visitor. I was curious. Very curious. So, I went to the library. I brought it home and tried to read it. I tried to read it again. What was I doing wrong? I didn’t like it. I couldn’t figure out or follow the story.

So I gave up. Not just on The Visitor, but all wordless books. Then I received a copy of Henry Cole’s Unspoken to review. At first, I was afraid of it – all the same questions and frustration came back. Then I read it with my daughter … and I was hooked. Now I recommend wordless picture books every chance I get.

I haven’t forgotten that initial frustration, so when I came across Lauren’s article at Happily Ever Elephants about reading wordless picture book with kids, I knew I wanted to share it here. I felt like Lauren “got” my hesitation, but she also has some coaching tips, too.


Happily Ever Elephants logoLiteracy Benefits: Wordless Picture Books

by Lauren, Happily Ever Elephants

The benefits of reading wordless picture books with children cannot be understated. Don’t believe me? Check these out:

  • When your child comments on the pictures, she begins to learn important storytelling elements. As an example, questions like “who do you see?” or “where is the little boy” introduce concepts of character and setting.
  • Wordless picture books encourage children to make inferences, summarize what they see, and analyze illustrations for information, context, and connections.
  • When kids “read” wordless picture books, they become aware of elements like beginnings, middles and ends as well as characters, settings and plots. Thus, they gain a keen understanding of how stories are constructed.
  • Wordless picture books demonstrate how illustrations drive plot and often supply critical details and story elements — even if the story contains words!
  • This unique format fosters creativity and imagination, while simultaneously enhancing reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.

Happy reading, and promise me you’ll remember this small detail: YOU WON’T MESS UP!

So what are you waiting for? Wordless picture books rock, and we’ve curated a list of our very favorites for you.


Keep Reading!!

Lauren’s full article also include tips on how to read wordless picture books.

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