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.