Thursday, March 5, 2015

Using Wordless Books

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Do you know what these books have in common?

Yep! They're wordless books {you read the title of this post, right? :)}

Do you use them in your classroom? They are a valuable resource that's easy to overlook!

For beginning readers, wordless books provide great opportunities for modeling and practicing reading strategies.

*Sequencing: Copy all the pages of a short book, or find a copy at a thrift shop or library book sale and cut it apart. Have your students work together to sequence the story before the first time you read it together. Can they explain the reasons for their sequencing decisions? Tape the story up on the walls of your classroom and walk along as you discuss it. Encourage alternative ideas for sequencing, and have your students use details in the illustrations to defend their decisions. When you read the book as the author intended, compare your class' version. This can be the basis of some great discussion!

* Making Predictions: As you do with any book, spend lots of time making predictions throughout the story. The advantage that a wordless book gives you here is that your students will need to pay very close attention to the details of the pictures since there are no words. Even those who have auditory processing issues will get lots of practice predicting, making inferences, and drawing conclusions.

Wordless books are also great as the basis of writing lessons. Have you ever tried shared writing using your document camera? It works really well for this! Show one page at a time on your screen. As a child suggests an appropriate sentence for the page, talk it through as you write it, or have kids come up and "share the pen". Hint: If you don't want to permanently mark up your book, do the writing on "oops tape", so you can peel it off eventually with no residue left.

Model writing dialogue with one page of a wordless book. As students suggest a few words or a sentence that a character might say, write them on one of those great post-its that are shaped like speech bubbles. Then it's back to the doc camera. Display the page with the speech bubbles on your screen, practice reading it a few times together (with great expression, needless to say!), and then have students come up to read the conversation. What a great motivator for fluency practice!

Beyond the primary grades, wordless books are great for continuing to model reading strategies. Because reading in the traditional sense isn't required, this is a chance for your strugglers to shine. Even as you move into more advanced comprehension strategies. these students can remain strong participants in your conversation, unimpeded by decoding or other issues that usually hold them back. What an exciting thing it is for them to have the playing field leveled, and what a  a confidence-builder, too!

What's your favorite strategy for using wordless books? Please share your idea by leaving a comment!

To read some ideas for using wordless books with pre-readers AND to find out what my three favorite wordless books are, hop over to my post at Primary Inspiration!

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