Wordless books…I will be the first to admit that I should have been using them more as a teacher. I used them a few times for a few lessons, and I remember being shocked at how unique the teaching and learning experience was, but I didn’t use them nearly as much as I should have because there is so much else out there, so many books with words.
What I realized this past week is that reading wordless books can be a fascinating change in your reading routine, and also an amazing story telling avenue for your child. Story telling, picture analysis and plot observation are powerful indicators of comprehension. If your child is having trouble understanding stories, this is also a helpful way to develop comprehension skills.
My daughter, husband and I have been working with *The Lion and The Mouse recently, at bedtime. At first we guided Bean through the story, but now she guides us and tells us the story. It transitioned from us to her fast, and I was blown away by our daughter’s comprehension and description of feelings in the book. She was adding things in each time she “read” the book to us, creating a more detailed story each read.
Here is how to use a wordless book with your child….
For your first few reads of a wordless book, you are telling a story using the pictures. Each time you read the book, add in a little more. For example, in the first read just tell the general story while looking at the pictures. The next night point out character feelings (use their facial expressions or actions to determine this) as you tell the story. The next time you read the book point out the details that may have been intentionally overlooked in the previous reads (the details in the background that help the story). Gradually have your child chime in with words, phrases and actions. They will soon start taking over the story.
If your child needs to develop their story more, guide them. Help them by starting their sentences, ask, And then what? or Why? or What’s he/she feeling here?
I promise you won’t regret this experimentation with wordless books. It will give you a whole new window into your child’s mind, imagination and comprehension.
*Our favorite wordless book right now is The Lion and the Mouse because it is a simple story that my daughter can relate to. Some more imaginative ones (think aliens and transformations) are better suited for older children.