Wordless picture books are awesome tools for speech and language assessments because they provide structure to elicit language samples AND it doesn’t matter what language the child speaks. What’s more, the beauty is that children have the opportunity to create their own interpretations from the pictures and express the ideas that come to their minds.
Why Use Wordless Picture Books in Speech and Language Assessments?
Any of you who follow The Speech Therapy Blog or have seen me present know that I think the language sample is the most important part of a speech and language evaluation. A language sample gives you so much more than standardized tests do.
You can look at a standard score and determine that it’s within normal limits or it’s not, or that it’s on the cusp, but you really have no idea from that score what a child’s language skills look like, what their communication strengths are, or what they need to work on. With language samples you get information about utterance length and complexity, use of tenses, vocabulary, speech production, voice skills, storytelling abilities, and so much more. And, the best way to elicit great language samples is with wordless picture books.
How do we pick the right wordless picture book for a speech-language assessment?
When picking wordless picture books for speech and language assessments, there are a lot of things that we need to take into consideration. How old is the person you are testing? What is their cultural background? What recent experiences have impacted their lives? Having a wordless picture book that contains familiar themes and vocabulary will yield a richer story. That’s important because when we are conducting a speech-language evaluation, we want to see the student at their best.
A List of 25 Wordless Picture Books to Use in Your Speech-Language Assessments (and speech therapy!).
Below you’ll find a list of some of our favorite wordless picture books. I’ve included the author and a brief summary as well. Put some of these in your testing bag and pull out one you think speaks to the child you are evaluating. You can also let them flip through a few and pick the story they want to tell.
These are in alphabetical order by author and you’ll see we have a few repeat authors we just can’t get enough of!
Bearded Dragon, Home Alone
This bearded dragon may seem mild-mannered when others are around, but wait until you see what he does when home alone!
Journey (First of Trilogy)
A lonely girl creates an escape to a world of adventure and danger. Her courage and kindness guide her.
Quest (2nd of trilogy)
Two children, initially startled by a king, set out on quest to free him from darkness.
Return (3rd of trilogy)
A girl who does not get her desired attention from her father heads back out on a journey where she encounters kings, emperors, and exotic creature.
A kid goes on an adventure exploring the forest by flashlight at night.
Good Dog, Carl
When Carl the Dog babysits, crazy things happen!
Pancakes for Breakfast
Tomie de Paola
Despite an enormous amount of effort to make pancakes, it doesn’t happen for a number of reasons.
Penguin Sets Sail
Jessica Linn Evans
A penguin sail to achieve his dreams. On the way he longs for home and friendships.
Exploring the City
People of any age can engage in enjoy the journey through the streets of this city.
A young girl’s joy and love turn a dreary city vibrant in this fun story.
Field Trip to the Moon
On a field trip to the moon one child gets left behind but he finds some fun ways to pass the time.
Skunk on a String
A skunk tied to a balloon flies about a city trying to get someone to untie him but one wants anything to do with him. See how he perseveres.
A Day for Sandcastles
Kids at the beach making sandcastles learn some important lessons.
A young girl craving a parent’s attention gives flowers as gifts and those gifts transform the giver and the receivers.
A young boy finds the key to a long-locked door and sets out on an adventurous and colorful journey.
Frog, Where Are You?
A boy has a new pet frog that escapes. He goes on an adventure to find it. These are some of the most commonly used books because they were used in the development for the narrative database developed for the SALT software.
Frog Goes to Dinner
A frog jumps in his boy’s pocket to join the family for dinner at a restaurant. He causes all kinds of trouble!
Frog on His Own
A boy goes on a walk with his pets and his frog goes missing. They have an adventure trying to find him.
One Frog too Many
Mercer & Marianna Mayer
A boy who has a frog gets gifted a baby frog and the big frog is not a fan of the baby. The big dog does everything he can to resolve the problem.
The Lion and The Mouse
A lion chooses to spare a mouse and later is very thankful he did. Kindness prevails.
Good Night Gorilla
A gorilla at the zoo grabs they keys to the cages and lets all of his buddies out for a night of fun.
The story of a baby bird who is afraid to fly out of the nest.
With magic chalk, children’s drawings come to life. Look out!
A boy searching for treasures at the beach comes across an underwater camera that opens a new magical world to him.