Friday, May 15, 2015

Wordless Pictures Books

The last 3 weeks that the library is open for business I decided to "read" a different wordless picture book each week and do a mini lesson.


I put the books under my Elmo.  I felt these types of books needed to be seen blown up on the Promethean Board.  I really wanted the students to be able to see the details in the pictures.

I didn't require them to raise their hands like normal.  These books just seemed like they were suppose to have students hollering out thoughts and ideas.  It was a bit chaotic but oh so much fun!  If they got too out of hand I would close the book and say quietly "I can't turn the page to find out what happens next until everyone is seated on their dot." (In one class I had a PreK nboy tell me I was pretty.  I said Thank you but you still need to sit on your dot.  These kids crack me up!)  Everyone would settle back down and we would continue on.

Before we started reading I explained that there were really no wrong or right answers. Since there were no words we each might "read" the pictures differently and we need to respect each others ideas.  This worked pretty well.  There's always a student who corrects other classmates.

We also discussed how some of these books looked like graphic novels and what the difference was between graphic novels and comic books were (it was good for some of the teachers to hear too!).

We also learned how to read a graphic novel.  The students enjoyed hearing how it was one of my former 6th grade Deaf Ed students who taught me how to read a graphic novel.

The first week in May I "read" Bow-Wow's Nightmare Neighbors by Mark Newgarden.  I started out asking what the title of this book was.  When they told me there was no title we discussed where else we might be able to look to find the title.  This brought in vocabulary for parts of a book.

The students loved the spookiness to the story.  They thought the naughty cats were hilarious!  

They brought up the book the next week.  We did a little compare and contrast with the other wordless picture books we read.

I also set up my Promethean Board as a station with Bow-Wow's website.  Two students were allowed to play on the board at a time since I only have two pens to work with.

The second week we read Tuesday by David Weisner.  This is not a true wordless picture book as it has some words in it but not many.

We started out predicting what the book was going to be about just looking at the cover.  We discussed what the title might mean and what time the clock read and what that hour meant.  Some students pointed out the hand in the corner and made guesses at who/what that hand might belong too.

Students REALLY enjoyed the ending of the book.  Spoiler alert! Stop reading this paragraph if you have not read this book!  They had so many ideas why the frogs flew at night on a Tuesday.  When we got to last four pages one page reads "Next Tuesday, 7:58 P.M."  The students all hollered "They're going to fly again!" But when I showed them next page the shadows were not frogs.  So they guessed what animal it might be.  The last page shows them pigs flying.  They all started screaming (definitely not an old school library!).  I settled them down with telling them I had two serious questions left.  Once they were quiet and seated back on their dots I asked "What do birds sometimes do while flying?"  I would get all kinds of answers until some one would get brave and say "Poop?" I would say "Yes... hmmmm, I wonder what would happen if a pig pooped from the sky."  We all gagged yelled grossed and had fun with a little bathroom humor... I'm not too old for a little bathroom humor!

This week I'm going to read The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett. This is on the 2x2 list for 2015-2016.  I normally don't like to read next year's books this year but I wanted to stick with the wordless picture books.  So I broke my rule.

Students noticed the sepia coloring of the pictures and how the only colored item was the bicycle. We discussed why the bicycle might be green. They also focused in on how we could only see the month of the happy people. 

The older students predicted what was going to happened more than the younger students did. They also dug deeper into the emotions of the characters. 

For all the books I stuck to the following questions.  

What pictures helped you tell the story? What was your favorite part of your story? Have you had an experience like the one in the story?

I changed them up a little to fit each book a little better and each book/reaction/class brought on new questions I would ask them.  The new questions were generally generated from an idea that a student shared.

I really had fun with these books.  I hope you try them too!


  1. I love wordless picture books! awesome job!

  2. I like wordless books for prediction and speculating what words could have been on the page, and for those students who are so hung up on the words on a page that they don't "listen" to the story as they read it - another reason to do a "picture walk" in a book before reading, too.