by Terri Thompson of Creative Family Fun
Have you ever read a wordless picture book? They are so wonderful for many reasons: 1) Pre-readers can read a wordless picture book independently and 2) both readers and pre-readers can practice their storytelling skills. And, as we found out, wordless picture books provide a great springboard for writing poetry.
Wordless Picture Books Writing Prompt
My 1st-grader and I grabbed a few markers, a package of sticky notes, and the wordless picture book A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka. The writing prompt idea was to write a poem. I challenged her to write words or phrases to describe the story on separate sticky notes. She looked to me for confirmation a few times, but, after hearing several enthusiastic yeses, she got to writing. She really loosened up when she realized she didn’t have to write complete sentences. Anything, absolutely anything, would work!
A few times, I did ask a question to prompt her. I asked simple, open-ended questions. What do you see? What is happening in this picture? How does Daisy feel? I let my daughter do the story-telling. I just provided a few tools to help.
After she had made it through the wordless picture book, we a laid out all the sticky notes so that we could see them all at once. My daughter then worked to arrange them in a poem. She rearranged them over and over until she was satisfied with her poem. We attached them to a sheet of construction paper so that she could preserve her poem.
In the end, she had written a poem she loved.
I loved how the sticky notes did not stay in the order that she wrote them, but, they told the story in the book nonetheless. My daughter also learned a few important things. She learned that poems don’t have to rhyme and that poems can tell a story, even a simple story about a dog and her ball.
Recently Published Wordless Picture Books
Here are some more wordless picture books that are perfect for storytelling and poem writing. (Reviewed by Melissa Taylor with affiliate links.)
Journey by Aaron Becker One of my favorite picture books and stories of all time, this gorgeously illustrated book and beautiful metaphorical story shows us a lonely girl’s drawing of a magic door that transports her to another world. There she draws and creates transportation so she can see this new world. She encounters a beautiful bird trapped in a gilded cage. Sad for the bird, she sets it free, only to be captured herself. Repyaing her kindness, the bird returns to save her. *Caldecott Honor Book*
The Apple and the Butterfly by Iela and Enzo Mari Graphic, geometric illustrations show the simultaneous growth of a caterpillar to butterfly and an apple seed to an apple. Simple but full of possibilities.
Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley What a lovely wordless picture book of photographs – sort of stop motion animation-ish . . . Hank is a cute little bear (I think) who is walking through the forest. He searches the forest for the nest where the egg would go. Eventually he discovers that it’s the hummingbird’s nest, returns the egg, and waits for the baby to hatch.
Flood by Alvaro F. Villa This darker picture book depicts the scary day when a family must leave their home, sleeping in a hotel and the flood comes to their home. When the family returns, their home is ruined but they rebuild and the last page shows a new house and happy family.
Hocus Pocus Takes the Train by Sylvie Desrosiers and Remy Simard Bright, cartoon-like illustrations introduce us to Hocus Pocus, a blue bunny in a magician’s hat. He sees a little boy lose his purple stuffed bunny. Hocus Pocus is determined to return the bunny to it’s owner. Very sweet!
Now it’s your turn.
Grab a wordless picture book, sticky notes, and let your child write his or her own poem or story using a wordless picture book!
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!