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  • Writer's pictureHLE Network

Get children talking with "silent" books

December 21, 2022


At our FOHLC Europe 2022 conference with the theme "Multilingual Children and Multilingual Libraries: Cultivating Reading Habits in the Heritage Language," we collected tips from the attendees via a digital padlet. You can view the padlet here (be sure to zoom in!). Through a series of posts, we will explore some of the tips shared via the 2022 conference padlet.

Silent Books

This time: Silent Books. Silent books are wordless picture books. The story is communicated through illustrations. These books allow children to be creative by telling the stories that they interpret from the pictures. Silent books are wonderful for shared reading between parent and child, but are also useful tools for language teachers.

Why are silent books good for multilingual children? We could think of several reasons:

  • If books in your own language are hard to come by, then silent books can be an option. Silent books can be read in any language!

  • It is not uncommon for parents of children who speak a heritage language to want their children to gain speaking confidence in that language. Silent books surely spark conversation!

  • Silent books can help build vocabulary in multiple languages for the same concepts. In a multilingual home, if one family member reads the book together with a child in one language, and another family member reads the book together with the child in another language, the concepts in the book are reinforced in both languages. (This can also be done with regular books if one family member is willing to translate!)

  • Being able to understand visual information, to tell a story, to understand the motivation of characters -- these are important skills. If a child is able to do these things in the home language, it helps them when developing these skills in the school language.

In short, the silent book is a great tool to have when supporting multilingual children in their language development.

Get some ideas about which silent books are good and how to best read them with your child.

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