Recently young readers have been excited by the Book with No Pictures written by B. J. Novak. It is a great book that helps younger elementary children realize that books without illustrations do not have to be boring. It is a fantastic example of how books without images can be interesting, silly and surprisingly funny. The Book with No Pictures teaches a great lesson to its intended elementary audience.
A lesson I try to teach parents of preschoolers and emerging readers is that wordless picture books, which are literally picture books without words, or with only a few words, are important for developing your child’s reading skills. Hang on. I know what you are thinking. Take a deep breath before you shout . . .”What good are books without words when I am trying to teach my child to read?” This an excellent question concerned parents ask when I suggest a wordless picture book. The benefits your child will gain from regularly reading wordless picture books include: vocabulary development, inferring, predicting, sequencing and narrative skills. Development of these skills will help your child be more successful in these areas when they get to school.
When you read a wordless picture book with your child encourage your child to tell you what is happening on the page. This helps your child develop a larger vocabulary as they encounter new images and concepts in the book. It also builds skills in inferring because they are deciding what is happening and what the characters may be thinking or feeling based on the images. Before you turn the page, ask your child what they think will happen on the next page. This helps your child build their predicting skills. Predicting skills are important for success in both math and science. Once you’ve finished the book, ask your child if they can tell you the story again. Retelling as story helps develop your child’s sequencing and narrative skills. Don’t be surprised if your child starts in the middle and remembers something from the beginning half way through their narrative. If you notice this, help your child by asking what happened first in the story and then ask about the events that came next. Soon your child will have the narrative skills to tell you stories from beginning to end without prompting.