A Guide to Reading Wordless Picture Books

Our journey with wordless picture books has been an interesting one. Initially, we had no idea what to do with them and exhibited the “flip and toss” behavior our friend, Ginny Lockwood, is working hard to prevent. You know the drill: flip through the pages to get a general sense of what the book is about then toss it aside and move on to a “real” book with words.

It was actually our middle guy, Cooper, who turned our attitude around and helped us to appreciate the beauty of wordless picture books. Coop is a deeply caring and thoughtful little guy who happens to have some language delays. One night a while back, Cooper pulled a wordless picture book out of the stack of library books on his shelf. Something about that book really spoke to him. He poured over the illustrations while waiting for his turn to be read to and by the time his brother’s turn was over, he had created an elaborate story to go along with the illustrations in the book. The amount of language that the book elicited for Coop was mind blowing.

After that experience, it took some time for us to understand how to engage with wordless picture books. We are continuing down our path with this genre and certainly have much still to learn, but in the meantime we have put together an infographic with our best thinking at this point.

We hope it helps!

Untitled Infographic-2

Download as a PDF

You may also be interested in our list of favorite wordless picture book titles. Click on the image below:

Wordless Picture Books With No Words