How Wordless Picture Books Help Kids Read

It may seem counterintuitive, but books without text can actually boost literacy skills. Here's how!

By Maria Minsker
Aug 13, 2019



How Wordless Picture Books Help Kids Read

Aug 13, 2019

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a great picture book is priceless. Here are three reasons why picture books with few or no words should be a part of your home library, and how they can help young learners read!

They help visual thinkers play to their strengths
Reading is hard for beginners, so taking some of the pressure off with wordless picture books can build confidence. This type of book helps convey the message of the story without the anxiety associated with text, says Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D., national executive director of Raising A Reader. Reluctant readers can get comfortable with the idea of “reading.” (For older reluctant readers in first or second grade, these books will help instill a love of reading.) 

They incorporate context clues
With no set narrative to guide the plot, wordless picture books leave a lot to the imagination. But that doesn’t mean there’s no storyline! Full of vivid illustrations, these books encourage children to use the detailed images to pick up on context clues and figure out what’s happening. Those same clues will be a factor in decoding text later, and recognizing their importance can help kids become stronger readers. To further boost reading comprehension skills, ask these questions while you read. 

They welcome retelling
Whether you reread it once or every night at bedtime, there’s always a new direction for a wordless picture book to take. Encouraging kids to think of new possibilities and reinterpret the story in different ways is a fun way to get them excited about reading. And revving up their imagination can inspire them to create their own stories and work their way up to writing, too!

Scroll down for our top picks for books with no (or very few!) words to help your child get these benefits. Next, check out this easy way to develop kindergarten reading skills.

Wordless Picture Books We Love

More Famous Picture Books You Might Like

Raising Kids
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3