How To Read A Wordless Book

Two years ago, while I was acting as a judge for the Cybils and reading even more books than normal in a given year, I noted the inordinate amount of wordless picture books that had come out in 2013. It even turned out to be the Caldecott year for wordless picture books as the 2014 honor awards went to three wordless picture books: Journey, Flora and the Flamingo, and Mr. Wuffles!. It was an unheard-of year for wordless picture books. I even frequently refer to 2013 as “The year of the wordless picture book.” Clever, no?

10 thoughts on “How To Read A Wordless Book

  1. Thanks for this post! I must admit to being very intimidated by wordless picture books and have found myself rushing through them. I am also finding they are much easier to read with a talking toddler who can be more involved in reading and answering questions.


  2. I have found that I love reading wordless picture books because there are so many levels. I can read the same book over and over and over to kids, but usually find something new – at least the first 10 times. :o)

    The tip that has helped me the most is to look through the book quickly – like a skim with the kids to get an idea of the story, then go back and “read” it through with the kids.

    Our ultimate favorite book is “Goodnight Gorilla.”

    Great post! I’m looking forward to seeing your recommendations.


  3. And now that I think about it, Peggy Rathmann’s “Ten Minutes Til Bedtime!” was one of our favorites.

    And must not forget “Who Made This Cake?” by Chihiro Nakagawa.

    Neither are completely wordless, but oh, the hours we spent finding and commenting on the shenanigans of all of those tiny hamsters and the little people making that cake.


  4. So well done! This is an excellent guide and one that will bring more people to the wordless books with their children as they enjoy and write the story in words aloud as they go.
    Beautiful, Caryn.


  5. I am so not a fan of reading wordless books together out loud. In my opinion, they are absolutely perfect for quiet reading time and maybe for talking about together, but I am just way, way uncomfortable trying to read them. 🙂 I did just come across a curriculum for learning languages using them. You basically try to tell the story at whatever level you are at and your teacher interacts with you, supplying missing and better vocabulary and structure. I was intrigued. Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday!


  6. I love this!! I just added each of these books to our library wait list to read with the kids. They naturally ask SO many questions when we read books (even to the point that we can’t get the text read sometimes), so I’m think this will be a delightful surprise and change.


  7. THANKS for this post. I went back and reread or reinterpreted Return by Aaron Becker. It was a slower look and more interesting but still need to take it to the grandkids and have them look at it (3 and 6 years old).


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