Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordless Picture Books - Kindergarten Focused

I enjoy using wordless books with my classes on occasion to allow them the chance to offer up their versions of narration. It's fun to see what they come up with from looking at the illustrations. I love it when rather than just giving a running narration they throw in some dialogue. When I do a wordless book I like to sit on the carpet with my students and hold the book in my lap. The class forms a circle around me so they can all see the photos. I make sure to pick books that aren't too confusing and don't have too many details which would be hard to see in a classroom setting. Here are four that work quite nicely for kindergarten.

 Rainstorm By Barbara Lehman
Grades PreK-5
 Lehman makes fabulous wordless picture books, but I find some of them to be a little too cerebral for my kindergarten crew. Rainstorm though fits the bill for this age beautifully. It's got enough twists and turns to keep them interested and excited, but isn't going to leave them asking, "huh?" In Rainstorm a boy finds a key in his house that unlocks a chest and inside the chest is a ladder. As he climbs down the ladder he goes on an adventure that leads to more twists and turns including a lighthouse. He meets some other kids along the way and invites them to play with him so he's not bored anymore.

The Snowman By Raymond Briggs
Grades PreK-3
Depending on the size of your class this one may or may not work. Most of the spreads have numerous smaller pictures so it can be hard to see them all in a big group. If you have a class of less than 15 it should work just fine. It's certainly a favorite to do on a lap at home too with your own child. The kids love this book and how it brings to mind Frosty the Snowman. A boy builds a snowman who magically comes to life. He invites him into his house to show him his room, toys, etc. and then after returning outside the snowman takes the boy's hand and they fly into the sky. The end of the story shows the boy back in his bed asleep and then rushing out in the morning only to find that the snowman has melted. This ending could be upsetting to very young kids so just keep it in mind if your audience is especially sensitive.

Pancakes for Breakfast By Tomie DePaola
Grades PreK-2
This is shorter wordless book than The Snowman and has larger pictures which makes it great to do with even a large class. At the crack of down a little woman lying in bed is thinking of a pancake breakfast. She starts gathering her ingredients together only to find out that most of what she needs isn't there. She must go to the henhouse for more eggs, out to the barn to get milk, to the neighbor for maple syrup, etc. As she is finally ready to get cooking she sees that her dog and cat have gotten into the kitchen and made a big mess of everything she had laid out. Just when her hopes of pancakes are crumbling she smells an aroma wafting across the yard and walks over to the neighbor's house. There she sits and gets to finally enjoy a big stack of pancakes. The last picture shows her sitting in her living room with an embroidery sampler framed on the wall which says "If at first you don't succeed try, try again".

The Surprise By Sylvia van Ommen
Grades K-3
The sweetest tale of friendship! Sheep dyes his own wool, shaves it, throws on a sweater so she won't be cold, hops on her moped and brings it to a poodle to be spun into yarn then takes it back home and knits it into a sweater for her best friend giraffe. The best picture is giraffe bending down to give sheep a kiss of appreciation.

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