Over at StoriesByHand.com, Kathy’s sharing a wonderful article by early childhood educator Louise Rollins of Maryland/DC Hands & Voices. Though the article specifically addresses techniques for using wordless picture books with deaf and hard of hearing children, these ideas will benefit hearing children as well. here’s a snippet:
Wordless picture books are excellent for helping your child understand the sequence of events in the story. During book sharing with a traditional book, a child sees part of the story in the picture and perhaps understands part of the story through the text that is read to her, then has to piece together a narrative from those two fractured elements, filling in the blanks on her own as she is able. Using a wordless picture book, your child can understand the events through the picture first, then learn from you the language that describes what she sees. This process helps develop your child’s story comprehension and build her vocabulary.
Because the pictures may be open to some interpretation, wordless picture books create an interactive reading experience where you and your child can discuss what you think is happening in the story. You can encourage your child to take on the role of narrator; even if your child cannot read print yet he can “read” these books independently or to you. Storytelling opportunities help your child practice organizing his thoughts, including sufficient information for his audience, and selecting relevant details. In other words, while practicing reading, your child is also practicing important writing skills, without even picking up a pencil.
When you read wordless picture books, you can modify your storytelling to use single words or shorter phrases. You might want to do this if your child does not yet understand longer strings of connected language, or is still developing his attention span. If you are learning to sign, you do not have to feel bound by the print and feel pressure if you don’t know every sign in the text. If you are learning to cue, you do not have to worry about cueing long passages at one time. Instead, you can focus on telling the story and enjoying book sharing with your child.
More Wordless Picture Book Resources:
Louise Rollins’ Recommended Picture Books: Look for “wordless” in the book descriptions to narrow down your search.
Early Literacy Storytime: Wordless Books at Mel’s Desk
Sharing Wordless Picture Books from Reading Rockets (printable handout for parents)
Top 10 Wordless Picture Books from Children’s Books Guide
Why Wordless Books?: Article about sharing wordless books in the classroom by Leslie Ross-Degnan , M.Ed., and Christina Silvi, M.A at Earlychildhood News
Wonderful Wordless Picture Books at Storytime Standouts