Wordless picture books are marvelous additions to children’s personal collections. Many parents and caregivers may not quite know how to approach “reading” a picture book without words, but it allows creativity and is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the illustrations. It is also an opportunity to encourage your child to tell the story himself or herself, an activity which develops narrative skill, one of the six basic skills necessary for reading readiness.
Suzy Lee’s Wave is an outstanding example of how wordless picture books can be read. Drawn only in blue, white and black, a little girl goes to the beach and interacts with the birds, sand and sea. There is a fantastical give and take between the girl and her subtly anthropomorphic surroundings. For example, she and the wave get into a double-dog-dare-you splashing contest that ends with the wave bowling her over.
You can read this book from the girl’s point of view, from the birds’ point of view or from the wave’s point of view and arrive at a different story each time. You can tell the story using nothing but onomatopoeia, or nouns, or adjectives, or verbs. You can describe about the character’s feelings, thoughts or actions. And you can empower your child to tell the story as they see it.
Other suggested wordless picture books: