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Wordless but not silent: Unlocking the power of wordless picture books

Written by: Jennifer D. Honaker, Ryan T. Miller
Published on: Aug 21, 2023

Student reading WPB
Photo credit: globalmoments/Adobe Stock

Teaching literacy skills that require critical reading and linguistic output can feel like an insurmountable challenge when presented with students of varying language proficiencies. One valuable but often unused tool to surmount these challenges is wordless picture books (WPBs). WPBs can be used to develop literacy skills more equitably among learners with varying language proficiencies, even when in class with native-speaking peers. They transcend language and cultural barriers often found in traditional literature and can be a tool for exploring multicultural perspectives. However, WPBs are often underrated and misunderstood by teachers and students, and frequently relegated to classrooms with young, pre-emergent readers. We argue for the power of WPBs for literacy development among English learners (ELs) of all ages by addressing common misconceptions, highlighting unique benefits of WPBs to ELs, and suggesting practical pedagogical implications.

Read the full text on Wiley Online Library

 TESOL Journal