Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!

Teachers who work with English as a Second Language learners will find ESL/ESOL/ELL/EFL reading/writing skill-building children's books, stories, activities, ideas, strategies to help PreK-3, 4-8, and 9-12 students learn to read.

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Books for Kids

Wordless Books

How many times have you watched your child choose a book and then pore over the illustrations? Wordless books are books that don't have any words, and tell their story through the illustrations. The pictures give you clues about what is going to happen next.

You and your child can sit together and make up a story, in Spanish or English, that goes along with the pictures.

For some suggestions on how to use picture books to engage your child when reading together, take a look at A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words.

A Boy, A Dog, and A Frog A Boy, A Dog, and A Frog By: Mercer Mayer Age Level: 0-3 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

This wordless book tells the story of a boy and his dog trying to catch a frog. As they head home empty-handed, they are surprised to find that the frog followed them home!

Ben's Dream Ben's Dream By: Chris Van Allsburg Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ben's geography lesson comes to life when he falls asleep and dreams of traveling to famous monuments worldwide. Realistic black and white line drawings combine fantasy and authenticity in this extraordinary adventure.

Changes, Changes Changes, Changes By: Pat Hutchins Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

In this wordless world of building blocks, solutions can be built for any challenge.

Clown Clown By: Quentin Blake Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Follow the fortunes of Clown as he rescues his fellow toys from being discarded too soon.

Frog Goes to Dinner Frog Goes to Dinner By: Mercer Mayer Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Having stowed away in a pocket, Frog wreaks havoc and creates disgrace for the family at the posh restaurant where they are having dinner.

Frog on His Own Frog on His Own By: Mercer Mayer Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The excellent adventures of Frog continue as he strikes out on his own on a fine summer day.

Frog, Where Are You? Frog, Where Are You? By: Mercer Mayer Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

In this wordless adventure, a boy searches for his pet frog. After meeting many animals along the way, the boy finds his frog, and a surprise!

Good Dog Carl Good Dog Carl By: Alexandra Day Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

A lovable Rottweiler named Carl has everthing under control while Mom steps out on an errand. Or does he?

Noah's Ark Noah's Ark By: Peter Spier Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The biblical rainy-day tale comes to life through delicate, detailpacked illustrations.

Pancakes for Breakfast Pancakes for Breakfast By: Tomie de Paola Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

On a cold morning, a little old lady decides to make pancakes for breakfast, but has a hard time finding all of the ingredients. This wordless picture book tells a story of determination and humor, ideal for young readers who can narrate the story as they go.

Peter Spier's Christmas Peter Spier's Christmas By: Peter Spier Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Join Peter's family as they prepare for Christmas. This wordless book uses brightly colored illustrations to illuminate the story.

Peter Spier's Rain Peter Spier's Rain By: Peter Spier Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

With wordless joy a brother and sister turn a raining day into an excuse for adventure through the neighborhood.

Polar Slumber / Sueño Polar Polar Slumber / Sueño Polar By: Dennis Rockhill Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

This beautiful wordless picture book takes us on a magical journey through a young girl's dreams about her new polar bear friends. Young readers will pore over the lush illustrations of snowflakes, adorable polar bear cubs, cozy blankets, and the Northern lights. An accompanying poem is included at the end of the text. Bilingual or English version available.

Rosie's Walk Rosie's Walk By: Pat Hutchins Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Rosie, a hen, takes a walk — oblivious to the fox that is following her. Rosie unwittingly leads the hungry fox from one disaster to the next until she returns safely home. The simple text notes only Rosie's trip around the farm, making the strong line and bright colors of the illustration all the more striking and very funny.

Sector 7 Sector 7 By: David Wiesner Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Wondrous things happen in the skies above Manhattan in this wordless book that explores what happens when we unlock our imagination.

The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher By: Molly Bang Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Illustrations tell an engaging and suspenseful story about a woman, her strawberries and a dark creature in hot pursuit.

The Hunter and the Animals The Hunter and the Animals By: Tomie de Paola Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Animals teach a hunter the wisdom of life and charity in this beautifully illustrated picture book.

The Lion & the Mouse The Lion & the Mouse By: Jerry Pinkney Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The well-known fable about how the smallest creature — a mouse — saves the majestic lion is a tale of kindness returned. Here it is effectively recast as a wordless story in a new setting. Stunning illustrations are expressive and emotive, evoking Africa's Serengeti while retaining the tale's power.

The Silver Pony The Silver Pony By: Lyn Ward Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

A magical winged horse takes his small companion on the adventures of a lifetime through 80+ illustrations.

The Snowman The Snowman By: Raymond Briggs Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In Raymond Brigg's charming tale, a little boy makes friends with a snowman. He wakes up on a snowy day, tells his mother he's going outside, then begins a flurry of snowman-building. That night, he can't sleep, so he opens the front door and lo! the snowman has come to life.

Time Flies Time Flies By: Eric Rohmann Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When a bird flies into an exhibit of dinosaurs, the museum walls and the bones begin to change to prehistoric times. The amazing fantasy comes full circle to a satisfying conclusion.

Tuesday Tuesday By: David Wiesner Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Slowly and quietly on this particular Tuesday, a few fat frogs begin hovering over a swamp, riding lily pads like magic carpets. Gradually, the flying fleet grows in momentum and number, sailing over the countryside and into an unsuspecting town.

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad By: Henry Cole Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Readers are encouraged to tell the story of a brave farm girl who provides food to someone who has escaped in this sophisticated, expressive, wordless book. Inspired by family stories, the author allows adults to fill in the historical detail while children recognize the story's power.

You'll be able to find many of these books at a library near you. This list was excerpted by permission of the author from The Read-Aloud Handbook, 5th edition, (Penguin), copyright 2001 by Jim Trelease.

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