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Use Wordless Books to Develop Comprehension Skills


ELA: Reading ^21st Century Skills Elementary School Strategy


Flexible Thinking Expressive Language Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning

Use Wordless Books to Develop Comprehension Skills

If your student is struggling to read and you want to teach main idea, theme or plot development

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will exercise reading comprehension skills when using wordless picture books to understand and tell stories themselves.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: Find picture books that illustrate a story in the child's area of interest. Wordless books can be used to discuss themes, contrasts and contradictions in a story line, as well as character development.
  3. Model and Practice: a) Look at the pictures together and have the child lead the discussion in explaining the plot. Students can interpret the story and use their imaginations each time without fear of being wrong or stumbling upon phonics or vocabulary. b) Students will be developing their reasoning skills, prediction, and attention to detail as they figure out the story line through pictures. c) You might have students write captions for each picture to work on writing as well.
  4. Examples: There is a lot of depth and nuance available in some of these beautifully illustrated stories. A few of our favorites: Journey by Aaron Becker, The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, Flotsam by David Weisner (and many others by David Weisner), Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Wordless books enable students to developing comprehension skills (reasoning, inferencing, attention to detail) without the additional load of decoding or listening. While wordless books are not a substitute for reading, they can be an important way to teach skills while keeping reading fun.