It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and while a picture can’t always do 100% of the job of words in a story, wordless picture books are a valuable literary tool.
If you have ever tucked your child in at the end of a long day and agreed to read them one last bedtime story, you know that getting through one last book awake can be a challenge in itself. Now imagine that you open that picture book and there are no words to accompany the illustrations. Not only are you expected to read the story to your child, you are expected to be the one who comes up with the story based solely on the illustrations.
The things that make wordless picture books challenging are also what make them so great for children to read:
- They foster creativity and imagination because the reader becomes the person coming up with the story.
- Children learn how to interpret what is happening in the illustrations and vocalize it, which encourages language play and vocabulary development.
- A wordless picture book can be re-read over and over again with different interpretations and words each time.
- Picture books such as Good Night, Gorilla allow children who can’t read or aren’t strong readers to still participate in telling the story, which is great for boosting self-confidence.
- They open the door for conversations about what’s happening in the story and why they came to that conclusion.
- Wordless picture books allow children to see the importance of accurate, detailed and clear illustrations and how they help to tell a story.
If you have never read a wordless picture book with your children, I would highly recommend it. Make sure you’re ready to think, ask questions, be creative and have fun.