Who Needs Words to Tell a Story? Wordless Picture Books Help Build Narrative Skills

One of the greatest ways you can help you child learn to read is by helping him hone his narrative skills. Narrative skillĀ  is the ability to describe things and events and tell stories. Being able to talk about and explain what happens in a story helps a child understand the meaning of what he or she is reading. Good narrative skills lead to good reading comprehension.

Check out our collection of wordless picture books and take a story walk with your child today! Here are some tips to help her get the most of this narrative skill exercise:

  • Let your child handle the book. He is learning about how a book works and is controlling the story by deciding how long to stay on a given page.When he is ready for the story to move on, he’ll turn the page.
  • Play “eye spy” inside the story. Often wordless books will having reoccurring characters or gags. Follow along and find those “Easter eggs” together.
  • Introduce new vocabulary words. If your child says, “There is a cave!” the adult can answer, “Yes, that is cave! A cave is like a hole in a mountain. Sometimes bats or bears live there.” You can also rephrase your child’s response. “Me do that!” becomes, “Yes, you have gone down a slide!”
  • Ask open-ended questions. What is happening in this picture? Why does the hen have an angry look on her face? What will happen next?
  • Call her attention to inferences. You may have to help your child understand when something is inferred in a wordless book, drawing her attention to the characters’ body language and facial expressions helps her learn to infer too.
  • Help him relate it to his own life. Help your child relate the story to something that happened in his own life. Ask him how he felt when it was happening and then ask him how he thinks the characters are feeling in this story.
  • Suggest words to help your child build the story. First, second, finally, then, next, etc., help teach the concept of the action happening with a beginning, a middle and an end.
  • Have fun! Maybe something silly is happening behind a tree in the story that noone can see but you! Maybe the lion in the story has a squeaky voice and the mouse has a deep voice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your story–when you are making the story, there are no wrong answers!

Here are a few of our favorite wordless books…


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