Children's Reading Suggestions

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Did you know…Early Readers Club

ercBrownsburg Public Library is a distribution point for the United Way’s Early Readers Club!  Reading is fundamental to a child’s success, and Early Readers Club makes it easier for parents and caregivers to start their child off on the right track.

Drop off your registration form at the library, then stop by every month from September through May to receive a free picture book for each of your children under 6 years old.

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Technology Rocks: Tactile Books, Early Literacy and 3D Printers

A picture is worth 1,000 words…but what if you couldn’t see it?…

Illustrations support early literacy in various ways–they engage very young readers and hold their attention, they build print motivation (the interest in books and desire to read), they provide contextual clues to help newly independent readers figure out new words and story arcs, they provide a way for adults to talk about the story with their children and develop their narrative skills–all skills children need whether they are sighted or not.

Tactile alphabet systems such as Braille are a well-known adaptation for visually impaired readers, but less widely known is the practice of creating tactile picture books for visually impaired children.  Unfortunately, such books are challenging to design well, and are costly to produce.

goodnight moon

But a team at University of Colorado Boulder is working to create a cheaper, faster way to print tactile picture books using an increasingly common technology (and one found increasingly in library technology labs): the 3D printer.  The Tactile Books Project has created fully tactile versions of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon and Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon, in addition to various picture puzzles, using 3D printers.

To learn more about this project, explore the pages of these newly accessible classics, or sign up for their newsletter, visit the Tactile Books Project website.

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Wordless Picture Books

Reading wordless pictures books with your child allows them to flex their imagination muscles, encouraging them to tell a story using their own words and understanding of the illustrations they see.  They practice oral language development, grow their vocabularies, develop a sense of narrative structure and learn to decode illustrations for clues about a story’s plot…all important early literacy skills.

Not sure exactly how to read wordless picture books with your child?  Click here for some tips!

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Fly little bird.  (Tina Burke)Fly little bird

A wordless journey with a girl, her dog, and lost little bird.

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Good Dog Carl series. (Alexandra Day)Carl's afternoon in the park

Carl the rottweiler, in charge of a baby and a puppy, takes advantage of Mom’s absence to lead them on a wild romp through the park.

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Peep! (Kevin Luthardt)Peep!

Although a boy is lonely after the hatchling duckling that followed him home finally joins other ducks, he soon meets another creature.

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South. (Patrick McDonnell)South

Mooch the cat helps a lonely bird find its flock, which has flown south for the winter.

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Bow-Wow bugs a bug. (Mark Newgarden)Bow-Wow bugs a bug

A wordless picture book about a persistent terrier who spends a day following a bug through his neighborhood.

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Wonder bear. (Tao Nyeu)Wonder Bear

Not sure what to expect after planting a handful of mysterious seeds, two children are delighted when a vine grows from the ground carrying a great white bear wearing a top hat who immediately begins to perform incredible feats of magic all day long for their personal amusement.

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The crocodile blues.  (Coleman Polhemus)The crocodile blues

A wordless tale in which a man and his pet cockatoo discover, much to their dismay, the true nature of the egg they bring home from the store.

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A ball for Daisy. (Chris Raschka)A ball for Daisy

A wordless picture book showing the fun a dog has with her ball, and what happens when it is lost. Caldecott Award winner.

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The boy, the bear, the baron & the bard (Gregory Rogers)The boy, the bear, the baron, the bard

boy playing among the warehouses of London kicks a soccer ball into an abandoned theater. There he finds an enchanted cape that transports him back in time right ontothe stage of one of William Shakespeare’s plays! A comic romp through Shakespeare’s London featuring an intrepid little boy, a friendly bear, and-in the role of dastardly villain-the Bard himself. What happens when a boy bursts throughthe curtain of a deserted theatre and onto the world’s most famous stage? He lands on the Bard himself and the chase is on-through the streets of Shakespeare’s London. This is a rare and inventive visual feast-a runaway story about a curious boy, a magic cloak, a grumpy bard, a captive bearand a baron bound for the chopping block. It is also a richly illustrated, dramatic and very funny tale of adventure and friendship.

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Time flies. (Eric Rohmann)Time flies

A wordless tale in which a bird flying around the dinosaur exhibit in a museum has an unsettling experience when it finds itself back in the time of living dinosaurs.

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Where’s Walrus? (Stephen Savage)Where's Walrus?

Follows Walrus on a journey through the city, as he tries on different hats to disguise himself from the chasing zookeeper.

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Dinosaur! (Peter Sis)Dinosaur!

While taking a bath, a young boy is joined by all sorts of dinosaurs.

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Ship Ahoy.  (Peter Sis)Ship ahoy!

A child on a sofa imagines it turning into a succession of ships, culminating in an encounter with a sea monster.

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Chicken and Cat clean up. (Sara Varon)Chicken and Cat clean up

Chickens makes his friend Cat a partner in his housecleaning business, but, after his business suffers when Cat turns out to be too clumsy to help, Catunexpectedly saves the day when he apprehends a mouse trying to rob a ladybug on the street.

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Anno’s Spain (Mitsumasa Anno)Anno's Spain

Anno takes us through Spain as he unfolds its countrysides.

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The Other Side. (Istvan Banyai)The other side

A wordless picture book that shows a series of familiar scenes through many twists in point of view, such as a boy looking down out of a jet’s window and another boy on the ground looking up at the same jet.

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Flora and the Flamingo. (Molly Idle)Flora and the flamingo

In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.

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You can’t take a balloon into the Metropolitan Museum. (Jacqueline Weitzman)You can't take a balloon into the Metropolitan Museum

In this wordless story, a young girl and her grandmother view works inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whilethe balloon she has been forced to leave outside floats around New York City causing a series of mishaps that mirror scenes in the museum‘s artworks.

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Journey. (Aaron Becker)Journey

Using a red marker, a young girl draws a door on her bedroom wall and through it enters another world where she experiences many adventures, including being captured by an evil emperor.

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The lion & the mouse. (Jerry Pinkney)The lion & the mouse

In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle. Caldecott Award winner.

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Midsummer knight. (Gregory Rogers)Midsummer knight

A bear is rescued by a fairy in an enchanted wood and agrees to return the favor by leading the battle against a usurper who has imprisoned the king and queen, along with their loyal subjects, in the dungeon of their castle.

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Inside Outside. (Lizi Boyd)Inside outside

In this story without words, a boy and his dog play inside and outside of their home.

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In my garden (Ermanno Cristini)

Domestic animals including rabbits and a cat share a garden environment with a variety of small wild creatures.

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In the woods (Ermanno Cristini)

Presents a wordless panorama of the animals, plants, insects, and flowers of the forest.

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In the pond. (Ermanno Cristini)

Wordless book. where a variety of fish, birds, animals, and plants share a habitat.

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Wave. (Suzy Lee)Wave

A wordless picture book that shows a little girl’s first experiences at the beach, as she goes from being afraid of the roaring waves to playing on the shore while gulls soar overhead.

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Flotsam. (David Wiesner)Flotsam

A wordless book in which a boy finds a camera at the beach and the film inside reveals fascinating underwater pictures as well as children around the world, so the boy takes his own picture and returns the camera to the sea where it will journey to another child.

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The last laugh. (Jose Aruego)The last laugh

A wordless tale in which a clever duck outwits a bullying snake.

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The snowman. (Raymond Briggs)The snowman

When his snowman comes to life, a little boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.

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The yellow balloon. (Charlotte Dematons)The yellow balloon

yellow balloon sails around the world.

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Pancakes for breakfast. (Tomie DePaola)Pancakes for breakfast

A little old lady’s attempts to have pancakes for breakfast are hindered by a scarcity of supplies and the participation of her pets.

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Polo series. (Regis Faller)The adventures of Polo

Polo the dog sets out from his home and enjoys many adventures, including sailing his boat on top of a whale, roasting hot dogs over a volcano, and taking a ride in a spaceship built from a mushroom.

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The plane. (Monique Felix)

A mouse has an adventure with a plane.

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Sidewalk circus. (Sid Fleischman)Sidewalk circus

A young girl watches as the activities across the street from her bus stop become a circus.

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Oops.  (Arthur Geisert)Oops

Depicts, in wordless illustrations, how a little spilled milk led to the destruction of the pig family’s house.

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Shadow. (Suzy Lee)Shadow

In a book without words, a young girl creates imaginative stories with fantastical worlds using the shadows of such everyday objects as a vacuum, a shoe, and an apple, transforming them with the click of a lamp switch.

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Rainstorm (Barbara Lehman)Rainstorm

In this wordless picture book, a boy finds a mysterious key which leads him on an adventure one rainy day.

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Frog series (Mercer Mayer)One frog too many

A boy’s pet frog thinks that the new little frog the boy gets for his birthday is one frog too many.

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Hiccup. (Mercer Mayer)

Mr. Hippopotamus’ violent efforts to cure his lady friend’s hiccups become increasingly irritating to her–then he gets an attack.

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Sector 7 (David Wiesner)Sector 7

While on a school trip to the Empire State Building, a boy is taken by a friendly cloud to visit Sector 7, where he discovers how clouds are shaped and channeled throughout the country.

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Free fall. (David Wiesner)Free fall

A young boy dreams of daring adventures in the company of imaginary creatures inspired by the things surrounding his bed.

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Window (Jeannie Baker)

Chronicles the events and changes in a young boy’s life and in his environment, from babyhood to grownup, through wordless scenes observed from the windowof his room.

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Home. (Jeannie Baker)

A wordless picture book that observes the changes in a neighborhood from before a girl is born until she is an adult, as it first decays and then is renewed by the efforts of the residents.

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Museum Trip. (Barbara Lehman)Museum trip

In this wordless picture book, a boy imagines himself inside some of the exhibits when he goes on a field trip to a museum.

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Letter Lunch. (Elisa Gutierrez)Letter lunch

Hoping for a tasty alphabet lunch, a hungry brother and sister forage for edible letters in their back yard, at the local market, and through the woods before cooking up a feast of vowel-seasoned consonants to share with friends.

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New baby. (Emily McCully)

The youngest mouse in a large family discovers excitement and frustration when a new baby arrives.

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Jack and the night visitors. (Pat Schories)Jack and the night visitors

In this delightful, wordless introduction to the elements of a story–character, setting, and action–Jack the dog and the freckle-faced boy attempt to capture a very strange, and unbelievable, late-night visitor.

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Zoom (Istvan Banyai)Zoom

A wordless picture book presents a series of scenes, each one from farther away, showing, for example, a girl playing with toys which is actually a picture on a magazine cover, which is part of a sign on a bus, and so on.

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Re-zoom. (Istvan Banyai)Re-zoom

A wordless picture book presents a series of scenes, each one from farther away, showing, for example, a boat which becomes the image on a magazine, which is held in a hand, which belongs to a boy, and so on.

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The marvelous misadventures of Fun Boy. (Ralph Cosentino)The marvelous misadventures of Fun-Boy

In twelve short stories without words, FunBoy looks for adventure, but it is misadventure that he finds.

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Giftable Books: Concept Books

Concept books–books featuring simple representations of shapes, colors, body parts, numbers or letters–make perfect gifts for 1-2 year olds who are just developing awareness of these abstract notions.  The following selections are toddler-approved and available as board books.

Chicka Chicka ABC

Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin

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Baby Colors by Rachel HaleBaby colors

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Toes, Ears and Nose by Marion Dane Bauer155770

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Ten Black Dots by Donald CrewsTen black dots

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Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban

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Early Literacy Resources

early literacy

Literacy skills begin developing at birth.  Beginning with listening to a parent singing or saying a rhyme up through reading and writing independently, children’s experiences with language and books build throughout their lives.  The more early literacy experiences children have, the easier it is for them to learn to read, write and speak.

Engaging in early literacy activities with your child is not the same thing as “teaching reading”…early literacy activities at home build a foundation that is language-rich, fun, and supportive, that fosters reading success down the road.  Early literacy activities can take place anywhere, at any time…during playtime, mealtimes, family outings, bath time, car trips, as well as during more traditional reading-focused events such as storytime, library visits or preschool.

The 6 basic pre-reading skills are:

  • Vocabulary (knowing names for different things)
  • Print motivation (enjoyment of and interest in reading and using books/other print materials)
  • Print awareness (knowledge of reading conventions such as reading left to right, and awareness of the need for reading skills in everyday life)
  • Narrative Skills (being able to tell a story in appropriate sequence and to predict what comes next in a story)
  • Letter Knowledge (knowledge of the names of letters and of the sounds letters make)
  • Phonological Awareness (ability to “play with” parts of words, to make rhymes, to recognize word families)

Pre-writing skills include:

  • Upper body strength
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Hand strength
  • Fine motor skills/pincer grasp

Here are some activities that promote each of the early literacy skills:

Vocabulary

  • Name objects with your child
  • List different types of things (e.g. boots, sandals, flip-flops, etc. are types of shoes); see how long a list you can make for different categories
  • Point out objects in book illustrations and name them, even if they aren’t part of the main story

Print motivation

  • Have books at home and check out library books with your child
  • Let your child choose which books to read
  • Read with your child
  • Read books with fun, repetitive phrases and encourage your child to recite familiar parts of stories
  • Substitute silly words while reading favorite picture books; help your child find the right word when they tell you it’s the wrong word

Print Awareness

  • Point out to your child when you use reading and writing in everyday life
  • Make grocery lists together and let your child cross items off the list when you shop
  • Follow text with your finger as you read to your child
  • Write thank you notes with your child
  • Help your child write notes to leave in siblings’ or parents’ pockets, lunch boxes, etc. as a surprise
  • Let your child turn pages while you read
  • Write down stories that your child makes up

Narrative Skills

  • Ask your child to tell you what they did today
  • Read books with your child and ask them to guess what might happen next
  • Read wordless picture books with your child and ask them to tell the story from the pictures
  • Act out stories
  • Write down stories that your child makes up

Letter Knowledge

  • Practice writing letters in fun mediums like shaving cream, sand, pudding, glue and glitter, paint
  • Sing spelling songs like B-I-N-G-O
  • Sing the alphabet song
  • Write letters on cards or pieces of paper and have your kid “swat” the letters you name with a fly swatter
  • Try to think of as many words that start with a particular sound as you can
  • Teach your child the letters in their name
  • Play with alphabet blocks and alphabet magnets

Phonological Awareness

  • Play rhyming games
  • Recite nursery rhymes
  • Sing the “Name Game”
  • Do fingerplays with your child (see below for additional resources)
  • Try to think of as many words that start with a particular sound as you can
  • Sing songs with rhyming lyrics

Upper Body Strength

  • Help carry groceries
  • Help mix/stir in the kitchen
  • Do gymnastics or yoga poses that involve the upper body, such as handstands and bridges
  • Put art materials on an easel and have your child color while standing
  • Encourage children to play on the floor and prop themselves up on forearms and elbows
  • Help sweep or rake
  • Let your child play with magnets on the fridge or another vertical surface

Hand-Eye Coordination

  • Toss bean bags back and forth
  • Play with a paddleball
  • Play with a shape sorter
  • Play with puzzles
  • Roll balls back and forth
  • Try to follow a moving object just by moving the eyes
  • Blow bubbles and watch them float away

Hand Strength

  • Hang and swing on monkey bars
  • Make homemade playdoh and have child squish food coloring into portions of the mixture
  • Squeeze stress balls
  • Write/color with chalk on the sidewalk
  • Use hole punchers to make confetti
  • Let your child use a squirt bottle to help you clean windows
  • Ball up paper that needs to be recycled
  • Squeeze glue out of a bottle and sprinkle glitter on it for a craft project

Fine Motor Skills/Pincer Grasp

  • Put coins in a piggy bank
  • Sort small objects like pieces of cereal, nuts and bolts, or beads
  • Take caps on and off screw-top bottles
  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Tear paper into strips for art projects
  • Play with wind-up toys
  • Teach children how to lace shoes
  • Let child use an eyedropper to add food coloring to water in a squeeze or spray bottle, then let them “write” outside with the colored water
  • Peel stickers off a sticker sheet
  • Do beading craft projects

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For more information about the development of pre-literacy skills in young children:

Joan Brooks McLane and Gillian Dowley McNamee. “Beginnings of Literacy.”  Edited from the Zero to Three Journal, September 1991.

Titles available at Brownsburg Public Library about early literacy

Information about the 6 basic pre-reading skills:

Multnomah County Library. “Six Early Literacy Skills”.

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy. “Six Early Literacy Skills”.

Information about pre-writing skills:

Family Child Care Academy. “Early Literacy–Prewriting Skills.”

Ideas for Early Literacy (Pre-Reading and Pre-Writing Activities):

Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL). CELLPops. (mini-posters with ideas for incorporating literacy activities in daily routines)

Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL). Parent Pages.  (literacy activity guides for parents of infants, toddlers and preschoolers, in English and Spanish)

Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL). Practice Guides with Adaptations. (literacy activity ideas with adaptations for kids with disabilities)

Get Ready to Read. “Home Literacy Environment Checklist.”

Get Ready to Read. “Understanding Beginning Reading Development in Preschoolers.”

Get Ready to Read. “Understanding Beginning Writing Skills in Preschoolers.”

Brownsburg School Corporation Occupational/Physical Therapy Department blog.  (lots of ideas for fine motor/gross motor activities to promote pre-writing skills)

Fingerplays:

Reading Techniques for Encouraging Early Literacy Skills:

Dialogic Reading (Multnomah County Public Library)

Reading to Babies and Toddlers (Zero to Three)

Reading to a Baby (Multnomah County Public Library)

Reading to Toddlers (Multnomah County Public Library)

Reading to Preschoolers (Multnomah County Public Library)

How to read wordless picture books (Brownsburg Public Library)

For information about pre-literacy milestones by age:

Reading is Fundamental. “Literacy Milestones from Birth to Age Six.”

Charlotte County Public Schools. “Stages of Normal Pre-writing Skill Development.”

Suggested Reading Lists for Creating a Home Library:

Young Hoosier Book Award Winners (Indiana Library Federation)

Caldecott Medal Winners (Association for Library Service to Children)

Tips for Building a Collection of Books Inexpensively (Reading Rockets)

Books as Gifts Buying Guide (Reading Rockets)

Tips for Choosing Books for Babies and Toddlers (Zero to Three)

Classic Picture Books (Brownsburg Public Library)

Staff Favorites Children’s Books (Brownsburg Public Library)

Wordless Pictures Books (Brownsburg Public Library)

Book Finder Search Tool (PBS)

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Where Are the Words?! Why and how to read wordless picture books with your child

Where are the words?!

Why and How to Read Wordless Picture Books With Your Child

Reading wordless pictures books allows children to flex their imagination muscles, encouraging themto tell a story using their own words and understanding of the illustrations they see.  They practice oral language development, grow their vocabularies, develop a sense of narrative structure and learn to decode illustrations for clues about a story’s plot…all important early literacy skills

Giving children an opportunity to find their own voice through storytelling allows them to practice being creative…and today’s confidently creative children are tomorrow’s innovative scientists, engineers and inventors as well as artists and authors!

Here are some ways to “read” a wordless picture book with your child:wordless picture books

  • Give the characters names
  • Ask your child what they think will happen next
  • Tell the story from different characters’ points of view
  • Ask your child to describe the scenery in the illustrations
  • Make up songs about the pictures
  • Ask your child what they think the characters are feeling and thinking
  • Hunt for repeated characters/visual elements on each page
  • If you are multilingual, tell the same story in different languages
  • Try to tell the story only with onomatopoeia (sound words like “whoosh”, “zoop”, “splut”) or non-words sounds
  • Act out the story with movements
  • Tell the story a different way each time you read it!

Printer-friendly brochure with booklist

Click here for a list of wordless books available at BPL!

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