So You Want to Read Wordless Picture Books?


This post is the first in a new “So You Want to Read” series designed for my students in Children’s Literature. My course is online this semester, which means that many of my students are learning at a distance and I can’t do what I like to do best to grow readers: show up to class with a big stack of books specially chosen for each student. This “So You Want to Read” series is an attempt to bridge that distance and make personalized recommendations for each student that might also be valuable for other readers.

First up? Wordless picture books, as requested by Morgan.

One of Morgan’s early favorites this semester was Aaron Becker’s wordless Caldecott Honor Book, Journey. I’m sure Morgan will be glad to know that the sequel, Quest, has been published.


Looking for Recommendations of Great Wordless Picture Books?

The Caldecott Honors list for 2014 is a good place to begin a reading challenge involving wordless picture books because two other wordless picture books won Caldecott Honors in 2014: Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle and Mr Wuffles by David Wiesner.

I have been using GoodReads shelves lately to find recommendations for specific types of books. There is a long list of Popular Wordless Picture Books as well as a list of Best Wordless Picture Books.

Kristen Remenar shares her Top Ten Wordless Picture Books at The Nerdy Book Club. Robot Dreams and The Arrival would be especially good choices for the upper elementary audience Morgan is thinking about. The comments thread also has many more terrific recommendations!

The design blog, Apartment Therapy, has two good posts on wordless picture books, both with several recommendations: Wordless Picture Books and Worth a Thousand Words.


Wondering How Wordless Picture Books Support Reading Skills?

Kristen Remenar briefly describes the key reading skills wordless picture books build in her Nerdy Book Club post.

This guide to wordless picture books collects several important articles on research supporting their use to develop reading skills.


Wondering How to Use Wordless Picture Books in the Classroom?

Katherine Sokolowski describes what happened when she shared Journey with her fifth-graders.

Monica Edinger uses Shaun Tan’s The Arrival with her fourth-graders and has written a series of posts about her lesson plans and students’ response.

Teaching My Friends has a very thorough post on different ways she incorporates picture books to teach reading.

On her own blog, Kristen Remenar shares how she integrates the Caldecott-winning wordless picture book, A Ball for Daisy, in a lesson plan to meet a reading comprehension standard.

4 thoughts on “So You Want to Read Wordless Picture Books?

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  4. Thank you for the links and for your thoughts on how to bring a stack of books to your students. I wondered how many of this Lit. class fit together and now I know why Goodreads is vital. Also, the top 10 picture books list is a helpful way to get started in wordless picture books.

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