Read wordless books to spark your kid’s imagination

It may seem counterintuitive to read picture books with no words, but there are many benefits in your child creating their own story. Reading books without words encourages your child to use their imagination to make a story, which in turn helps them develop critical thinking skills and improve their prediction-making abilities.

So how do you read books without words? There is no wrong way to do it! Picture books without words offer a world of opportunities to explore books in new ways. Start from the back of the book and work your way forward! Start from the middle and guess what is happening! There are so many ways to read a picture book without words; the possibilities are endless.

Here are some general tips for approaching these types of books:

  • Look at the cover of the book     
    • Ask your child what they think the story will be about. What colors and images can they see?
  • Read the title and make predictions about the story based on the title.
  • Take a picture walk!     
    • Skim through all of the pages and talk about the illustrations. Ask your child what they see happening. What do they think will happen next?
  • Encourage your child to tell their own version of the story using their words.     
    • Have your child narrate what they see. Ask them prompting questions – what do they see? What do they think will happen next? How do the characters feel? What are the characters doing?
  • Ask your child questions about the book!     
    • What was their favorite picture? Which was their favorite part of the story? Is there another way to tell the story?

The best part about these wordless books is that there is no wrong way to tell the story, and there are so many stories you can make out of one book! Ask your child to make a new story! Read the book over and over in new and fun ways!

Your child will learn so much and explore their own imagination by controlling the story telling. Someday, your child may begin writing stories of their own – and maybe even become an author! – but right now making up their own stories with wordless books is a great way to encourage critical thinking, imagination, and fun!

Here are some wordless books to get you started:

-Kelli, Children's Librarian, Oro Valley Library

Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play!

Reading helps children understand how text works and positions them to increase their language and literacy skills throughout their lives.

Read more about early literacy and how you can make a difference in your child's life.