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21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling

21 wordless books to help teach storytelling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.

Wordless books for storytelling!

I love using wordless books to teach storytelling. Here are just a few of my favorite wordless picture books you can use with your young readers. Before students can be asked to write a story, they must first be able to tell a story so having great wordless picture books are essential!

What are wordless picture books good for?

Has this happened to you? You are so excited to start writers workshop early in the year. You dismiss your students to start to write their stories, only to hear a chorus of “I’m DONE!” 2.2 minutes later. 

Or later in the year, you read a student’s story about going to the park and it reads, “I went on the slides. I went on the swings. I played ball. I went home.” Sigh! 

Yes, we work on stamina and telling more in writer’s workshop, but “reading” wordless books is a great way to strengthen storytelling. Because if students can’t tell a story, they won’t be able to write a story.

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling.

How do you teach with wordless picture books?

First, I don’t think there is a “right way” to “read” a wordless picture book, but this is how I do it.

  • Take a picture walk:  The first time you look at the book, notice the details… Discuss how the illustrations help to tell the reader what is happening in the story. Because there is an absence of text, the “writer” has to be certain that they make their meaning clear with the illustrations. So ask students to pay close attention to the work of the illustrator. Isn’t this exactly what we want our emergent kindergarten writers to do?
  • Name the pages:  Take time to name what is happening on each page. This is sort of like the planning we do when we plan to write a story.
  • Read it like a story:  Now when you read it the third time, add book language. EXAMPLE: Once, there was a dog and his name was Carl.
  • Invite students to use their own words. The visual information on the page will support the language skills and oral language development of second language learners.
21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.

Make a wordless book collection

Place a collection of wordless books in a book bin. Revisit them often. Allow students to have free access to them (they could even be a station activity). You wish to periodically add books in the bin to keep them fresh. You can find many of these are your local library or school library. Here are a few wordless book suggestions.

Wordless picture books

Wordless Book #1 A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka is an adorable book. Daisy is a dog who loves her red ball. Then one day, she goes to the park and her ball gets destroyed by another dog. The illustrations are precious!

 

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 1

Wordless Book #2 Chalk by Bill Thompson

Chalk by Bill Thompson is a book about three children and the magical things that happen when they find sidewalk chalk. The small details are so much fun!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 2

Wordless Book #3 Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day

Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day is a classic! Let’s pretend that the mom did not leave the baby alone with the dog so she could go shopping! BUT Carl is a pretty awesome babysitter!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 3

Wordless Book #4 The Red Book by Barbara Lehman

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman is a fantasy book that starts when I child finds a book. Each page builds upon the previous page and they zoom in and zoom out.

 

21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 4
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 5

Wordless Book #5 Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd is the adventures of a boy who uses his flashlight to discover things in the dark.

I love how the majority of the illustrations are in black and white, yet where the stream of light shines you see color. This is a FANTASTIC illustrative study book!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 6

Wordless Book #6 Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Goodnight Gorilla is a CLASSIC!

Love that sneaky gorilla!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 7

Wordless Book #7 Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola

Pancakes for Breakfast tells the tale of a woman who wants to make pancakes but she needs to gather the ingredients.

 

Talk about a picture telling the story. [Sidenote… now I want pancakes.]

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 8

Wordless Book #8 The Secret Box by Barbara Lehman

The Secret Box  is another book by Barbara Lehman and its about time travel! My students LOVED this book!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 9

Wordless Book #9 The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

The Lion and the Mouse is stunning! I could talk about the illustrations ALL. DAY! It is easy to see why this is a Caldecott honors winner! This is a familiar story of a ferocious lion and mouse and how they became unlikely friends.

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 10

Wordless Book #10 Hike by Pete Oswald

Hike by Pete Oswald is the story of a young boy and his father who go on a hike.   This book is full of details that will surely spark a conversation.  

It would also make a great book to add to your Earth Day book collection.0

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 11

Wordless Book #11 Journey by Aaron Becker

Journey by Aaron Becker is the story of a young girl who walks through her closet door and enters into a magical place.

The colors are spectacular and a fantastic opportunity to work on storytelling.

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 12

Wordless Book #13 Fly by Mark Teague

I have always been a fan of Mark Teague’s illustrations and Fly! is a wonderful wordless story to add to your collection!

Talk about a mini lesson on showing not telling!  Perfect!

21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 13
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 14

Wordless Book #14 Shine by Dagney Griffin

Shine by Dagney Griffin is a sweet book about a young girl who spreads love in the city.  As she shares her love with the people she encounters, the city slowly transforms until everything around her is glowing with vibrant color.

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 15

Wordless Book #15 Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner is about a cat that gets visited by aliens.  This 2014 Caldecott Honor book is a winner for sure!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 16

Wordless Book #16 I Got It! by David Wiesner

I Got It! is another great book by David Wiesner!  This book slows down the moment after the ball has been hit and what happens as the outfields is trying to  catch the ball.

21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 17
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 18

Wordless Book #17 I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët

I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët is a book about kindness!  I love this book because not only do you have a great opportunity to practice storytelling, the message of including others is as important as ever.

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 19

Wordless Book #18 Dude by Aaron Reynolds

Dude by Aaron Reynolds is a master’s class in illustrative studies.  Each page of this near wordless book is a mini lesson in waiting!

 

Your kindergarten and first grade students will LOVE this book!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 20

Wordless Book #19 Flotsam by David Wiesner

You just can’t get enough of David Wiesner!  Flotsam is a great wordless book!

 

Once again, a Caldecott winner!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 21

Wordless Book #20 One Afternoon by Hsin-Yu Sun

One Afternoon by Hsin-Yu Sun is a book that answers the question… What do our pets do when we are not with them…LOL

This wordless book tells two stories at the same time. On the top, a boy leaves his home to go about his daily tasks and obligations. On the bottom, his dog waits at home having his own set of adventures!

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.
21 Spectacularly Wordless Books to Teach Storytelling 22

Wordless Book #21 Deep in the Forest by Brinton Turkle

Deep in the Forest by Brinton Turkle is an older book… like back when I was young…old! old!

I love this wordless version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except, this is turned upside down.  In this version, the bear breaks in to the house.

21 wordless books that will help you teach story telling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.

There you have it.  21 Wordless books that are great for storytelling or writers workshop minilessons!

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21 wordless books to help teach storytelling. Activities and resources to strengthen sequential story telling. Before students can write a story, they must be able to tell a story.

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Deedee Wills

Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!
 

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20 Responses

  1. A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer are wonderful wordless books. Plus there are other titles so the adventures continue. I love wordless books for teaching comprehension strategies to all grades.

  2. I use Chalk, Pancakes for Breakfast and Good Dog Carl at the beginning of the year too. I have another one that the kids love– Where’s Walrus, I think it is by Stephen Savage. Thanks for the list, I will add these to my fall teaching basket.

  3. I posted a similar post recently. I also love using wordless books and actually get a little thrill when I pick up a book at the library to discover that it has no words! 🙂 My students love them too. I found a beautiful story called Wave this year that I think you would also like.

    1. Ohhh… Send me a link to your post and I would be happy to add it to mine!!!! I love the Wave too!!!!

    2. Ok… I hope you don’t mind, but I found your link. I added it to my post so people could read your wise words!

  4. I love Wave by Suzy Lee, Tuesday and Flotsam both by David Wiesner.

  5. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is another beautiful wordless picture book.

  6. Tuesday by David Wiesner
    Stimulates conversation and “turn and talks” about what YOU do on Tuesdays. Also a fall book share. Love your work! Do you ever sleep? Have a great summer!

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