Wordless picture books are an amazing way to engage readers of any level within a story. Not only are they a great practice in creativity, these books also strengthen comprehension skills.
A picture really does speak a thousand words and wordless picture books prove that to no end. If you want to see your students truly and creatively engaged while reading a book, I can’t recommend reading one (or all 😉) of these enough!
When you tell a student “you don’t have to read words to be able to read a book,” you are giving him or her power. Wordless picture books put all students on the same playing field in a way that other read alouds can’t.
When you look at a book with no words, you have to take in every detail, every context clue and the entire sequence of events in order to piece together the story that the author is telling.
You may also be encouraged to see that some of your students who may not be reading words confidently are able to inference a lot based on the context clues in the pictures!
10 Wordless Picture Books to Engage Any Level Reader
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Because of the nature of wordless picture books, I like to project them onto my SmartBoard screen in the classroom. It makes it easy for students to really explore the pictures and engage with the story.
I do this through Amazon digital library for many of these books but have also used a document camera for physical books. I add the physical books to our classroom library after reading so my students can retell the stories again and again.
This Caldecott Award winner has also spent time on the New York Times bestseller list because of its relatable story and engaging pictures.
Daisy is a dog who loves her red ball…until it gets destroyed. Students will commiserate with Daisy during the sad parts of this story and celebrate with her later on.
This is a great first wordless picture book because the story is one that students can easily grasp. I can encourage them to look for details in the pictures because they are already seeing the full idea of the book.See “A Ball for Daisy” on Amazon
Chalk is a magical book. There’s no other word to describe it! It’s features 3 kids who find a bag of chalk on a rainy day.
They draw the sun to stop the rainy day and are elated…but then one of their other drawings comes to life: a giant dinosaur!
Students will love talking through the story to figure out what is happening. There aren’t words to explain it so they have to figure out the magic for themselves!See “Chalk” on Amazon
This book takes wordless picture books to a new level with dramatic use of color. A boy is in his tent where it is cozy and warm, but what is outside?
He explores using his flashlight. Things that couldn’t be seen before are bright and exciting when he points his light at them.
I pull this book out in October when we talk about nocturnal animals like owls and bats. Students enjoy making the connections to our curriculum as they tell this story in their own words.See “Flashlight” on Amazon
Is there a sweeter dog out there than Carl? I really don’t think so!
At the start of this book, you see a mom putting a baby to bed in the crib. After she leaves with a few words, “Look after the baby, Carl.”
Carl walks right over and helps the baby escape! I can guarantee your students will crack up when they see the antics that Carl and baby get up to.
Through it all, Carl takes care of the baby wonderfully. He really is a good dog!
Note: you will definitely want to tell your students that this story is make believe! We don’t want anyone to think that caretakers leave while they are sleeping! 😂 We eventually land on the idea that this is either Carl or the baby’s imagination of what might happen if mom left them alone for a few hours. 😉See “Good Dog, Carl” on Amazon
This book is a must have when you are teaching about space, the planet Earth and where we live in our continent, country and neighborhood.
The book starts out with a view of earth from an astronaut’s perspective in space. Then we zoom in closer and closer, seeing the planet, the continents, a town, and finally a boy with a magnifying glass.
Students love guessing what we will look at on the next page. This is a specifically great book for sequencing practice!See “Looking Down” on Amazon
Mr. Wuffles couldn’t care less about his fancy cat toys. He walks by every single one until his eyes land on a shiny metal spaceship. Little does he know, it is filled with aliens!
The aliens get knocked around as Mr. Wuffles bats the spaceship around the house. They escape and try to explore the house so they can repair their ship without getting eaten by the cat, which turns out to be quite an adventure.
Students will love narrating this story as they watch it unfold. It has also spurred on a lot of creative writing in my classroom!See “Mr. Wuffles” on Amazon
This is the perfect little winter story to add to your bookshelf to spark students’ imaginations. A few forest animals build a snowman on a wintry day.
A rabbit drops into the snowman’s hat as he reads his friends a story. When they doze off, the rabbit grabs the book and hops away! The snowman and his friends chase after the rabbit and eventually do catch up.
This sweet story is really easy for students to follow and they absolutely love the ending. I think you will, too!See “Snowman’s Story” on Amazon
The gorgeous illustrations in this wordless picture book will stop you in your tracks and inspire so much imagination in your students!
In this story, an elephant finds three red balloons. He grabs on with his trunk and the balloon carries him up, up and away. He floats over all sorts of beautiful landscape that inspires lots of descriptive words. There is so much to see, whether it is the desert, jungle, arctic, or ocean.
It is really fun to end this story by imagining where you would like to float with three red balloons of your own.See “Three Red Balloons” on Amazon
This is one of my very favorite wordless picture books because I love the beach! This story shows a girl on the beach, playing on the sand, with the seagulls, and eventually with the ocean.
This book is illustrated with charcoal and just one color, blue, which draws students’ eyes to the ocean. The minimal pictures are a stark contrast to most of the other books on this list, which is a great point of discussion with students while reading it!
Another excellent feature of this book is the way you can truly feel whatever the little girl is feeling on each page. Her emotions are easy to see and articulate, making is a good book for that type of discussion as well.See “Wave” on Amazon
Zoom is such a fun book to read with your class because nothing is every quite what you think it is. Each scene starts out zoomed in on one object. With the turn of each page, you see more and more until the scene is complete.
We really enjoy guessing what the scene will be. For example, red spikes turn into a rooster which is being watched by two children who are in a house…and it goes on and on!
This book is a good companion to Looking Down which zooms in closer and closer. You can compare and contrast the feeling of zooming in versus zooming out of a scene.See “Zoom” on Amazon
These wordless picture books are all in my personal collection because they are endlessly engaging, have beautiful illustrations and are favorites of mine and my students.Shop ALL of these Wordless Picture Books on Amazon!
Do you have any favorite wordless picture books that aren’t listed here? I would love to add them to my own collection! Let me know below 👇