Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wordless Picture books

During the month of October I focused on the books my kids were reading. I haven't found any of my recent reads that inspiring which is why I haven't posted much. However, I wanted to add another to the list of good kids finds. And I wanted to join the latest I Can Read Carnival celebrating early literacy

If you look at the title, I am writing about wordless picture books. You may ask, how can a book without words inspire literacy? Let me explain:

Boy2 can read. He can read remarkably well considering he is only 5. But I have little idea what his comprehension level is. While he will sound out and correctly pronounce words on a billboard that doesn't mean he comprehends the word. At the beginning of the school year his teacher told me his "comprehension was 0." I know that is not true because he will tell me the plot of books he has read. Sometimes.

Long story shorter... he is not excited about reading on his own right now. He still loves to listen to stories at bedtime and he will look at pictures but he has no interest in "reading." Then I discovered two great new finds at the library. Owly and Polo. These are both series of graphic novel/comic books with complete visual stories but they have (almost) no words. At first Boy2 was skeptical and wanted me to tell the story. I told him he had to tell the story to himself.

Success... yesterday in the car on the way home from the library he picked up Polo and the Magic Flute and told the story - in great detail - to the Clifford stuffed animal he brought home from school yesterday. Listening to him adding dialogue and plot points I realized his literacy was growing exponentially. As important as understanding words when we read is the ability to follow a story to its conclusion.

Both series are well-drawn, colorful, and engaging. The stories have a distinct plot but for my son who doesn't like too much suspense they are not overly suspenseful. I also like that there are multiple stories with the same characters which really appeals to my kids. They become invested in the world of the characters.

I will continue to drop books at Boy2s bedside. But I am more willing to think a little bit outside the box to find other means of working on his literacy than just reading flashcard words.


cathy said...

Funny...I've never thought of picture books that way. E is not nearly as enthralled with being read to as B was at this age, but she does love "reading" stories to me. I like thinking of it as reading comprehension for her, and since she loves it, it's a perfect way to keep her engaged with books. Thanks!

g.n.a.t. said...

Glad to help. I think it was the "lack of comprehension" comment that got me. I know he can sound out words but I am not always sure how much he understands.

And as you know, I'll do (almost) anything to encourage a love of books!