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Before Words

Wordless Picture Books and the Development of Reading in Young Children

Judith T. Lysaker Peter Johnston

160 pages
Teachers College Press
In this book, the author challenges reductive views of emergent literacy prevalent in many of today’s kindergarten and pre-K classrooms. As an alternative, Lysaker explains how reading wordless books with young children helps them to develop a range of comprehension abilities that are important for understanding narrative texts. Readers will find concrete methods to help them gauge, document, and respond to children as they make meaning of and respond to wordless books. Through description and analysis, the text reveals the undervalued richness of young children’s emergent comprehension and the intricate, purposeful nature of their specific early thinking activities. Before Words encourages readers to think about young children’s comprehension as complex meaning-making and suggests new ways of responding to the unique sense-making tools young children use during wordless book reading. Book Features: Demonstrates how young children develop reading comprehension abilities even before learning to read print. Expands on reading as more than just a technical skill. Engages the whole child and scaffolds their formation of relationships with other people, including peers, teachers, families, and communities. Nurtures students’ creativity, positive relationships with storytelling, and social-emotional growth. Offers guidance for building a wordless book library, including a selected list of books.
Author Bio
Judith T. Lysaker is an associate professor of literacy and language at Purdue University.