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Exploring Wordless Picture Books

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Abstract

Wordless picturebooks may be better defined by what they do contain – visually rendered narratives – rather than what they do not contain. This column challenges traditional ways of looking at wordless picturebooks and offers a few approaches for integrating wordless picturebooks into a wider range of classrooms, preschool through middle school.

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... Essa autora, após as referidas comparações, estabelece sua própria descrição desse tipo de obra, afirmando que "O livro ilustrado sem texto é uma narrativa de imagens sequenciais fixas e impressas, ancoradas na estrutura do livro, cuja unidade de fragmentação é a página, a ilustração é primordial e o texto é subjacente." 4 . Também Carvalho (2012) [2] definiu este recorte da literatura ilustrada como "... objeto específico caracterizado por uma sequência de imagens, sem veiculação de texto escrito, com conteúdo narrativo, organizada no suporte livro." ...
... A fim de compreender a narrativa concebida pelo autor, nós, como leitores, encontramo-nos em um lugar de engajamento com a obra: lendo as imagens, absorvemos a história unicamente pelo meio visual. Serafini (2014) [4] afirma que Os leitores estão sendo solicitados a participar ativamente da construção da narrativa e não podem simplesmente contar com a decodificação literal do texto escrito. A abertura ou a ambiguidade que é inerente aos livros ilustrados sem palavras permite que os leitores construam diversas interpretações e retornem repetidamente para reconsiderar suas impressões iniciais. ...
... A fim de compreender a narrativa concebida pelo autor, nós, como leitores, encontramo-nos em um lugar de engajamento com a obra: lendo as imagens, absorvemos a história unicamente pelo meio visual. Serafini (2014) [4] afirma que Os leitores estão sendo solicitados a participar ativamente da construção da narrativa e não podem simplesmente contar com a decodificação literal do texto escrito. A abertura ou a ambiguidade que é inerente aos livros ilustrados sem palavras permite que os leitores construam diversas interpretações e retornem repetidamente para reconsiderar suas impressões iniciais. ...
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The investigative interest in the wordless picturebooks is due to its unique character: telling a story exclusively through the visual medium, without resorting to texts or dialogues to complement its diegesis. Analysing the resources available to the illustrator, who sets herself or himself up for this challenge, allows us to understand the image creating process that will constitute the visual narrative. This paper is based on the willingness to study this process, attached to a master's research in progress that seeks to analyse wordless picturebooks, inferring the mechanisms used by their authors in the development of illustrated narratives. In this sense, the investigation pursues to highlight elements that illustrators resort to when conceiving stories narrated exclusively through images. In addition to this analytical phase, our research also presents a practical section that proposes experiments to demonstrate such observations. These experiments are based on the mechanisms observed in our analytical phase, exposing, through practice, the narrative potential of the mentioned procedures. This paper discusses two of the experiments accomplished in this research, discussing their respective creative processes and possible developments.
... And although exceptions exist in pages and format, 32 is still considered the norm (Mourão, 2013). The individual pages in picturebooks rarely have page numbers and the left (verso) page and the right (recto) page, viewed together, are called an 'opening' (Serafini, 2014). Openings are also referred to as 'double spreads' when the content (text and illustrations) is spread across the two facing pages (Serafini, 2014). ...
... The individual pages in picturebooks rarely have page numbers and the left (verso) page and the right (recto) page, viewed together, are called an 'opening' (Serafini, 2014). Openings are also referred to as 'double spreads' when the content (text and illustrations) is spread across the two facing pages (Serafini, 2014). Doonan (1993) explains that the story in a picturebook, apart from the first and last pages, is 'presented as a sequence of pairs of facing pages ' (1993, p. 83). ...
... This definition becomes clearer when looking at what the epitext and the peritext refer to. While the epitext refers to everything that surrounds the book, such as public reviews and author interviews (Pantaleo, 2017), the peritext includes key components of the picturebook, such as the dustjacket, the endpapers and the front matter, which includes the title page and the publisher's small print (Serafini, 2014). ...
Conference Paper
This thesis investigates the use of English picturebooks as a teaching tool in initial (pre-service) primary teacher education in the Netherlands. Taking the English language teaching (ELT) and English proficiency weaknesses of primary teachers in the Netherlands as a starting point, this PhD study explores the contribution a picturebook-based course can make to English teacher education at the primary level. The participants in the study were second-year student teachers at Avans University of Applied Sciences (NL), and the investigation spanned a period of ten months (August 2017 to May 2018). Central to the investigation was a 13-week learning-to-teach picturebook-based course, situated within the framework of socio-constructivism. The project employed a multiple case study design and used multiple data collection tools. These included the draw-and-write technique with follow-up interviews, lesson observations with follow-up reflective interviews and an online CEFR proficiency assessment. The use of these tools offered a holistic, emic account of the development of focal cases. The analysis involved the definition of a structure to ensure the three strands of data (drawings, written commentaries and interviews) were analysed holistically and qualitatively. The discussion of the results drew on the interpretivist framework. This is one of the few studies to employ the draw-and-write technique in applied linguistics and one of the few studies in primary English language teacher education to establish the contribution of a taught course. As such, the study offers essential empirical insights into the complexity of educating generalist primary teachers to teach English at primary level. The findings suggest that the course design, anchored in the literature and in socio-constructivism, contributed to the development of conceptual and practical ELT skills. Focal cases began to see the teaching of English as a holistic endeavour – as a series of connected lesson stages and activities which seek connections to the young learner and their environment. Moreover, participants showed awareness of the changing role of the teacher during an English language lesson for primary-aged learners. The draw-and-write technique stimulated reflection on the personal experiences, likes, dislikes and views of the participants. These, combined with the intervention course and practice gained during their observed lesson, shaped their ELT plans, ambitions and visions for a successful primary English lesson. Interestingly, the findings reveal that the level of language proficiency of a focal case does not offer an indication of a focal case’s confidence in primary English language teaching and that low proficiency does not necessarily represent a hindrance. The findings of this multiple case study confirm the intertwinement of ELT skills and English language proficiency when teaching primary English. Hence, this thesis argues for the reassessment and reform of a primary teacher education, which separates learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and Primary English Language Teaching (PELT). Instead, it proposes an integrated approach to educating generalist primary English language teachers in the Netherlands, with a focus on educating foreign language teachers and not foreign language learners. Over a short period of time, the picturebook as a learning-to-teach tool embedded in a 13-week picturebook-based course, has shown itself to be a powerful and inclusive resource. Student teachers expressed confidence in their ability to teach primary English, regardless of their English language proficiency and PELT experience. As a result, this thesis recommends that picturebooks play a key role in reforming initial primary English language teacher education in the Netherlands.
... Even different languages mention this type of visual narration in very different ways: wordless picture books, or wordless picturebooks [4] (p. 5); sequenced picture texts [9] (p. 221); álbum sin palabras [10] visually rendered narrative [11] (p. 24) and silent books, the striking English expression commonly used in Italian [12,13]. ...
... 221); álbum sin palabras [10] visually rendered narrative [11] (p. 24) and silent books, the striking English expression commonly used in Italian [12,13]. Wordless or "nearly wordless" picture books consist of images without the accompaniment of words: the narration and meanings of the text are guided solely by the illustrations and they should not be defined "by what they do not contain: words" [11] (p. 24), but by the focus on the visual narrative. ...
... There are many studies that investigate the nature, definitions and didactic uses of wordless books. Much recent research has contributed to establishing their intercultural and multidisciplinary value, and to extending the possibilities of analysing the mechanisms underlying them from the point of view of narrative and the semiotic of images [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]. ...
Article
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This article discusses how the shared reading of wordless picture books can contribute to the promotion of parental educational engagement by fostering shared visual reading practices. Prior research shows that wordless picture books contribute to making the reader feel in the story, and facilitate the process of empathy and participation. The content analysis of data collected during a reading project, which involves shared reading with children and their parents, reveals that child-parent shared reading of a visual narrative establishes intense interaction and collaboration, a deep emotional relationship and promotes and enhances the role of the family in an expanded learning community.
... Even though there is no text in wordless picture books, narratives and informational books can be comprehended differently because the story or the information is organized in meaning-based structures. Serafini ( 2014a ) suggested that wordless picture books might be the best medium for introducing narrative conventions and reading processes to all readers. At the same time, this can only be accomplished with explicit instruction and guidance in how to make meaning from visual narratives that rely on composition and spatial layout to communicate a message and information. ...
... Wordless picture books may also be informational, historical, and/or biographical among their genres. By name, wordless picture books are defined from a deficit point of view (Serafini, 2014a ). They do not have the words that traditionally denote textual structure and that are assumed to encode meaning. ...
... Wordless picture books showcase the art of visual storytelling (Salisbury & Styles, 2012 ). They are visually rendered narratives that can vary from one another in plot and structure, image composition, level of abstraction or realism, narratorcharacter-reader relationships, graphic layout, and genre (Bosch, 2014 ;Serafini, 2014a ). They allow ELs to engage with complex content as they discuss meaning and work toward oral language proficiency. ...
Article
This article presents an approach to use wordless picture books to enhance the language development of English language learners. This approach is grounded in best practices to teach ELLs. The process starts with viewing and analyzing the visual images, engaging ELLs in discussion, and ending with students' self-authored texts. The wordless picture books contain all the literary elements and text structures that books with text have. Wordless picture books, without the language demands, invite ELLs to share the reading experience and to construct meaning from the viewing experience. Since wordless picture books vary in its complexity, booklist indicating level of complexity with annotations is provided for K-5 students. Classroom discussion and writing samples are also included to demonstrate the four stages of this instructional approach.
... If the teacher wants to exclusively focus on "reading" pictures, it is better to use the term "wordless picture book" whose potential stated above is supported by several scholars. Serafini (2014) claims that using wordless picture books enables the learners to be equally involved in a teaching process. All learners observe a set of pictures and they are free to introduce their own perception. ...
... Anyway, the language should be easily predictable, repetitive and rhythmic which helps the learner acquire these cognitive aims more easily which is different from wordless picture book since there is no text or only a few words and/or sentences. Serafini (2014) asserts that wordless picture books are a visually rendered narrative so the picture can be also considered the text because it presents a story. There is a hidden message as it is seen in the selected wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers (2015) by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith. ...
... They offer a stimulating springboard for dialogic discussions as readers interpret their meanings. Wordless texts are not just aimed at young children; they can be highly ambiguous and complex in their meaning potential, and therefore perfect for children, adolescents and young adults (Serafini, 2014). ...
... We do this through fostering students' dialogical and critical thinking skills on issues that call for an active application of moral and social values, based on students' prior experiences which relate to the age-appropriate cultural texts selected as stimuli of each lesson sequence. In addition, the fact of those cultural texts (picture books and animated films) being wordless opens the space for constructive dialogue among students, as it broadens the possibilities of interpretation of the ideas and messages transmitted of these multimodal texts (Serafini, 2014), and therefore, facilitates the variety and diversity of viewpoints and arguments emerging through discussions. Teachers' agency, that is, the degree to which the teachers feel accountable towards the enacted curriculum, plays an important role within educational reform initiatives, related or not to citizenship education (Schweisfurth, 2006;Severance et al., 2016;Leeman et al., 2020). ...
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Cultural literacy, as a set of values and dispositions developed through dialogue and constructive argumentation with people representing different cultural identities, is an essential skillset of a twenty‐first‐century citizen in any part of today’s world. Especially within the current European landscape of continuous immigration and change, the fluidity and rhetoricity of identity construction require a notion of citizenship education that can adapt to this dynamic process. Moreover, the practical aspects of being a citizen in its authentic, global, democratic sense are not sufficiently emphasized within current curricula. In this paper, we present an innovative citizenship education curriculum based on dialogic, argumentative and cultural literacy skills, which addresses this gap through proposing discursive practices of cultural identity construction at a collaborative level (small group or whole class) inspired by wordless texts (picture books and animated films) on core civic cultural values such as tolerance, empathy and inclusion. Through applying a design‐based research methodology with teachers from three education levels and four European countries, we conclude that dialogic lesson plans aiming at the development of cultural literacy dispositions can act as an innovative and adaptive citizenship education curriculum in diverse contexts.
... Through picture book illustrations children can become more aware of the illustrative sensory features of line, shape, colour, texture, and value as well as more so-called formal features such as balance, rhythm, repetition, contrast, and diversity (Salisbury and Styles 2012). Children can also create their own meanings from picture book illustrations by recognising how visual images are used (Beltchenko 2016;Serafini 2014). With a wealth of didactic features, picture books can contribute to the development process of children's discovery and criticism, by helping them to improve their questioning skills as well as supporting their visual and spatial thinking skills (Lohfink 2012). ...
... This process can provide the children with a variety of opportunities to connect with their own worlds as well as also informing us, the educators and researchers, about ways in better understanding how children connect with their worlds. The information obtained about the child's connection with their own world through picture books may also serve as a guide in creating new activities that can contribute to the social-emotional development of children (Guo 2018) as well as support their development through images in the areas of visual exploration, critical thinking, and visual literacy (Beltchenko 2016;Serafini 2014). Furthermore, knowing how children interpret art elements and use them in their own works can be a guide in designing picture books that emphasise art elements that are crucial in the process of connecting a child with their own world, thus supporting children's learning processes in a much stronger way. ...
Article
Picture book illustrations can provide the opportunity for critical examination of a work of art. There is a growing body of research focusing on how we can respond creatively to the illustrations in picture books as art objects. This study aimed to reveal how children interpret art elements based on various artistic techniques within picture books and how children use these elements when interpreting their own stories. In line with this aim, three picture books for preschool children were examined together along with a study group of four children attending summer school in a private kindergarten in the province of Ankara, Turkey. The research observations were recorded via photographs, audio-video recordings, and written notes. Qualitative data related to the children’s interpretations of art elements in the picture book illustrations were analysed descriptively. The results showed that the children paid closest attention to the elements of colour and shape within picture books, and that these art elements were also those that they placed the strongest emphasis on in their own work.
... This paper deals with those picture story books that are suitable for older readers, and also wordless picture books, which are by the very nature (specific concepts, themes used) suitable for students at higher level. However, we would not consider wordless picture book different from picture story books, because it has been proven that also wordless picture books tell stories (Serafini, 2014); Chen Shanshan (2015) speaks about "image narration" (p. 678). ...
... 678). Serafini (2014) further concludes that "Wordless picture books may be better defined by what they do contain-visually rendered narratives-rather than what they do not contain." Jane Evans (2015) discusses the typology of picture books, taking into account the versatile types of picture books fusing various genres and media, and claims that some picture books can be classifies according to their "aesthetic qualities, implied audience, subject matter, and/or style". ...
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The picture storybooks have gone through a major transformation since their modern versions appeared in the 1950si. Modern and postmodern picture story books “have a great potential with their flexibility, based on a great variety of picture-text interplay, a wide range of themes, richness of aims and functions” (Bobulová, et al., 2003, p. 88-89). In the online distance learning course, education will be carried out on the basis of interaction between the learner and material (stored and exchanged in Moodle Platform, for instance), and between other participants in the educational process, that is, the instructor and other learners. The advantage of teaching children’s literature, especially picture story books, via E-learning platforms, is twofold: firstly, readers take their time to go through the reading materials and work on their own; secondly, it gives them space and time to prepare for the task assigned by the instructor appropriately and effectively by paying close attention to all the details, which, due to shortage of time allocated in face-to-face education (classroom environment) would be impossible. This paper presents not only advantages of such learning, but also sample tasks learners may encounter while participating in the online distance learning.
... This type of silent storytelling offers multiple expressive opportunities and provides us with multiple stories to work on different subjects at any educational stage. The academic criticism of the last forty years shows both an enormous interest from the clinical field in using these picturebooks to improve the development of linguistic development and many estudios from the literary field and various educational proposals (Serafini, 2014) that recognise the usefulness of these visual narratives, which are not limited by the comprehension of the written text. This research proposes a didactic sequence for teacher students, carried out in the Teacher Education Degrees of the University of Alicante, whose main objective is to reinforce the knowledge of visual narratives through wordless picturebooks. ...
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The expressive possibilities of wordless picturebooks offer us a tool to work on multiple subjects at any educational stage. Scientific attention shows both a clinical interest in using these books to promote narrative skills and many studies and didactic proposals that recognise these visual narratives, which are not restricted by the understanding of the written text. In this research, a didactic sequence is proposed for teacher education, carried out in the Early Childhood and Primary Teacher Education Degrees to reinforce the knowledge of visual narratives through wordless picturebooks. It is based on the use of eight picturebooks, focusing on three different categories: (1) recognition of the different elements of the narrative discourse based on the importance of the central fold; (2) the narration of the passage of time based on the sequence centred on an unaltered space, (3) the identification of a visual narrative with accumulative narrations. Based on their analysis and explanation, seven wordless picturebooks are proposed and are distributed in the same categories to carry out different creative writing activities to confirm the learning of students in teacher training. The selected wordless picturebooks also present different topics and meanings in their illustrations, thus demonstrating their narrative possibilities. The selection of these books and the reasons for their inclusion in this didactic sequence are presented, showing that wordless picturebooks are a suitable tool for literary education.
... Wordless picturebooks promote interpretive discussion and opportunity to explore literary elements (Serafini, 2014). Such discussions support English language development (Louie & Sierschynski, 2015), including for adolescent newcomers (Short & Boyson, 2012). ...
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This discussion describes a collaboration between a high school for recently arrived immigrant and refugee youth and a local college. Across 6 weeks, college tutors read a wordless graphic novel, The Arrival (Tan, 2007), with newcomer students to support oral English language development, to develop interpretations, and to invite personal connections. This discussion addresses tensions and lessons learned from welcoming newcomer students to share sensitive personal stories, such as their migration stories, in English classes.
... Os estudos de cariz mais sistemático levados a cabo por Emma Bosch (2012Bosch ( , 2014Bosch ( , 2015Bosch ( e 2018 centram-se não só na caracterização deste tipo de publicações, como na identificação das suas várias tipologias . Esta investigadora tem vindo a identificar los signos particulares descifrando las conexiones con los objetos que representan, reconstruir las secuencias de los diferentes significados a partir de las relaciones espaciales y temporales de los signos presentados en un espacio y orden determinados, y comprobar o refutar las hipótesis de lectura que se van generando continuamente a la espera de que se cumpla esa expectativa de coherencia global que por convención narratológica conlleva en álbum (2009, p.40) É também por esta razão que têm aumentado os estudos sobre o uso do livro-álbum sem texto com diferentes tipos de leitores, em vários contextos, uma vez que a ausência de uma componente verbal os transforma em objetos suscetíveis de promover o desenvolvimento da literacia visual, mas também de ultrapassar obstáculos linguísticos e barreiras culturais, podendo ser instrumentos muito úteis para promover o diálogo e o encontro intercultural (ARIZPE, 2004(ARIZPE, , 2013(ARIZPE, , 2014JALONGO et al., 2002;SERAFINI, 2014). São mais escassas, todavia, as reflexões que pretendem proceder à leitura dos livros-álbum sem texto enquanto obras literárias, justamente em resultado da ausência dessa componente verbal, apesar da inquestionável dimensão estética de muitas propostas enquadráveis neste formato. ...
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Resumo: Pretende-se, neste estudo, proceder a uma leitura aprofundada do livro-álbum sem texto Máquina (Pato Lógico, 2017), de Jaime Ferraz, tendo em vista a caracterização deste formato editorial específico e a reflexão sobre a sua valorização enquanto objeto literário, além de artefacto de especial significado estético. Serão alvo especial da análise os elementos peritextuais principais, a composição global do livro e, sobretudo, a narrativa visual e os procedimentos técnicos usados para contar uma história que, além de ser uma espécie de ode ao livro e à leitura numa sociedade cada vez mais digital, apresenta na sua construção vários recursos metaficcionais, exigindo leitores observadores e competentes. Abstract: The purpose of this study is to carry out close reading of the wordless picturebook Máquina [Machine] (Pato Lógico, 2017), by Jaime Ferraz, in order to characterize this specific editorial format and to reflect on its recognition as a literary object, in addition to an artifact of special aesthetic significance. The analysis will focus on the main peritextual elements, the global composition of the book and, above all, the visual narrative and the technical procedures used to tell a story. This wordless picturebook is an ode to the book and reading in an increasingly digital society, and it presents in its construction several metafictional resources that demand observant and competent readers.
... Although the current study was modest in its scope, it is nevertheless instructive. Based on observations and analysis from the current study, we can build on research with suggestions for teachers, specifically related to wordless picturebooks and informed by family literacy practices (e.g., Cassady, 1998;Lysaker & Hopper, 2015;Schick & Melzi, 2016;Serafini, 2014). Children and families can use wordless picturebooks like The Lion and the Mouse to tell stories across and within their various languages, allowing for development of the home language with the same book that may have been shared in a different language at school. ...
Article
Wordless picturebooks provide opportunities for both families and teachers to engage with narrative texts beyond the confines of a particular language. In this ethnographic study, the researchers examined how one multilingual family interacted with a wordless picturebook across time. They observed shifts in who engaged with the reading; evidence of sense‐making as the mother, older sister, and younger sister engaged with the book; scaffolding the mother and older sister provided for the younger sister as her telling of the story became more sophisticated; and intimacy and humor. These observations may have implications for classroom teachers who are interested in using wordless picturebooks to support culturally and linguistically diverse learners. The authors conclude with suggestions for incorporating wordless picturebooks into classroom practice in ways that may be welcoming and productive for students from diverse backgrounds.
... É certo que os livros sem texto são frequentemente dirigidos a crianças pré--leitoras (que não sabem ler) (SERAFINI, 2014). No caso presente, configura-se o trabalho com estas obras sobretudo em ambiente de mediação (na escola, na biblioteca pública ou em qualquer outra instituição com um adulto acompanhando jovens leitores) com crianças em estado inicial ou intermédio de domínio de leitura, isto é, leitores iniciais ou autónomos. ...
Chapter
O presente capítulo defende e expõe algo que, numa primeira abordagem, pode parecer surpreendente ou estranho: promover o conhecimento da estrutura narrativa a partir de livros para crianças que não têm texto, isto é, livros que apresentam uma narrativa, mas o fazem exclusivamente recorrendo a uma sequência de imagens. Ao mesmo tempo, propõe uma leitura articulada de três obras com caraterísticas comuns destinadas preferencialmente a crianças. É certo que os livros sem texto são frequentemente dirigidos a crianças pré- -leitoras (que não sabem ler) (SERAFINI, 2014). No caso presente, configura-se o trabalho com estas obras sobretudo em ambiente de mediação (na escola, na biblioteca pública ou em qualquer outra instituição com um adulto acompanhando jovens leitores) com crianças em estado inicial ou intermédio de domínio de leitura, isto é, leitores iniciais ou autónomos.
... Wordless picture books encourage students ' creative thinking using clues of the "artistic mediums of color and style as well as thinking about what the story means as told through illustrations" (Brodie, 2011, p. 46). In addition, Serafini, (2014) states that wordless picture books are "visually rendered narratives." (p. ...
... Research involving interpreting and comprehending illustrations in children's books is well documented (Arizpe, 2013;Arizpe & Styles, 2003;Marciano, 2001;Crabb & Marciano, 2011;Martens, Martens, Doyle, Loomis, & Aghalarov, 2013;O'Neil, 2011;Pantaleo, 2008Pantaleo, , 2014Pantaleo, , 2015Pantaleo, , 2016Serafini, 2012Serafini, , 2014Sipe, 2008;Vilarreal, Minton, & Martinez, 2015). Comprehension is enhanced through use of text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to world strategies (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000;Trovani, 2000), and through the relationship of text, illustrations, and the reader, through literary interpretation, what Rosenblatt (1978) called reader-response theory. ...
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What happens when five teacher candidates and their professor bring a wordless picturebook into Italian classrooms? This article presents a grounded discussion of our immersive experiences from the United States and the minilessons they taught stemming from a piece of children's literature through our study abroad program in Italy. The opening of Italian classroom doors provided reflective observations of the critical and creative thinking processes of more than 200 Italian students (ages 7–16). We (one professor and five early childhood and special education teacher candidates) taught minilessons in five Italian schools during a monthlong study abroad program offered by our university (further described in Author 1, 2017). Although this project was conducted in Italy, we have since used this minilesson successfully in our own classes, and we invite you to adapt our use to fit your teaching.
Article
This study investigated the role of signs in wordless picture books and their influence on meaning making. The article's main aim is to highlight the importance of using culturally appropriate signs to foster narrative comprehension in wordless picture books. This genre of books can be a useful method and tool for translating cultural knowledge into images, but their production can be a difficult process because skilful execution is required for successful communication. Wordless picture books can serve as a medium that encourages storytelling and fosters a love of reading. This research involved the creation and semiotic analysis - through participant reactions - of three wordless picture books whose stories are situated within the Xhosa culture. Theoretical perspectives of social semiotics and narratology were used as lenses through which to inform the research. The findings include evidence of the importance of understanding context-relative knowledge and of using appropriate signs, symbols, and signifiers when translating and portraying narratives in wordless picture books.
Chapter
In the last decades of the twentieth century, there was a substantial change in the way the picturebook was perceived, from a simple introduction to the world of books for young children, to aesthetic objects that continue to evolve as well as absorb and reflect global issues in surprising ways. This chapter will refer to some of these perceptions and transformations and what they may bode for the future of the picturebook. Given that Barbara Bader's definition of a picturebook from 1976 remains a seminal one, we use it to structure our discussion along with some implications of the digital age and the COVID‐19 pandemic on the printed book. Our projection builds on a discerning review that brings together a wide range of significant international picturebook studies and new theoretical directions as well as research on the current market trends and literacy initiatives, with the aim of providing a chapter that will contribute to, and encourage, future reflection and enquiry.
Article
A 2018 survey (Statistics South Africa, n.d.) reported that almost half of South African children aged four years had never read a book with their parents. In light of the current literacy crisis that South Africa is experiencing, providing appropriate materials to encourage and aid reading and storytelling activities is increasingly important but remains a challenge. Wordless picturebooks are an under researched literary genre in the South African context but, we argue, they can be used to spark a culture and love of reading because they can be enjoyed by readers of various backgrounds, language preferences, and literacy levels. Using participative research, the Dithakga Tsa Gobala project investigated whether and how the development of wordless picturebooks in local communities could help parents engage in cognitively stimulating activities such as shared reading and storytelling. Stories sourced from two communities were used to create a series of wordless picturebooks that were then circulated in the communities. Initial results indicated that not only did the project have a positive impact on the participants' self-concept and their relationship with reading, but that the books were also positively received by the wider community. Results indicated that the books were easy to use, created positive parent-child experiences, encouraged imagination, and that the content of the books was relatable. Challenges that arose included issues of authorship and misunderstandings between authors and illustrators. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that wordless picturebooks are a valuable genre in the South African reading landscape and that a participatory model for creating relevant, local content for reading is not only viable but also beneficial for communities and other stakeholders.
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This article explores 11-year-old children’s connections to prior knowledge and experiences while reading a wordless version of Little Red Riding Hood. The study extends pre-existing research on reader response theories by focusing on images instead of written text. The approach taken places emphasis on the reader’s active engagement, for readers use visual decoding skills and culturally oriented knowledge in an effort to interpret the wordless story and fill its gaps. A multiple case study design was implemented involving sixteen students from Greece and England, all being in the final year of primary school and identified as fluent readers. The participants in each country, separated into two groups of four, read the book in an empty classroom, with no teacher intervention. The aim was to identify patterns in their unmediated responses, and to present and analyse the themes of their connections based on empirical evidence. The participants linked the illustrations to their common general knowledge, including cultural references and gender-based generalisations, to personal experiences, and to other texts such as books and films. The findings reveal the prevalence of common themes in their interpretations of the story and encourage engagement with wordless picturebooks, even for older students. Due to their special nature and complexity, these books can initiate interesting conversations on issues such as identity and gender diversity.
Chapter
Literacy researchers and educators assert that expanding the ELA curriculum to include visual and multimodal literacy is necessary to meet the demands of the twenty-first century. Researchers suggest that developing visual and multimodal literacies can be accomplished by teaching students to use a metalanguage of visual grammar. This gives students the tools they need to discuss and analyze visual and multimodal texts. This chapter considers how a metalanguage of visual grammar is developed in one high school English classroom during World War II literature unit that featured a number of multimodal texts. The authors explore 1) how wordless picturebooks can be used to scaffold students reading of multimodal texts, 2) how wordless picturebooks can be used to develop students' metalanguage of visual design, and 3) how students utilize their developing metalanguage when analyzing and discussing multimodal texts. Insights for classroom instruction are provided.
Thesis
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In this article-style dissertation, I explore how students used digital technologies, specifically three social media platforms, as multimodal writing platforms while creating a digital portfolio in a senior English class. These platforms are 1) Weebly pages: a website building platform, 2) Weebly Blogs: a feature of Weebly, and 3) Instagram: a photo/video sharing application. Under a multiliteracies lens, I examine the changing nature of literacies and the educational practices surrounding learning literacies when mediated through social media. First, I conducted an analysis of how the students in this class designed their portfolios. This is done through an examination of each students’ Weebly homepage as well as an in-depth analysis two focal students across each of the social media platforms as illustrative cases. Findings show the students designed complex multimodal compositions that would have otherwise not been possible with the more formal, rigid forms of writing typical to this classroom. Implications for this study include embracing alternative authoring paths in classrooms beyond traditional forms of text-based writing to allow for students’ interests to be included through their designs. I also examined how students used each of the platforms and the pedagogical implications for those uses. I found that students used Instagram to write multimodally, which allowed them to express ideas in non-traditional ways that are often not present in classrooms. Students used Weebly pages to publically showcase their writing, which afforded them an opportunity to extend their writing to a larger audience. Students used Weebly Blogs to communicate informally, which allowed them to reflect on connections to the text. I offer implications for how teachers can use social media in the classroom. ii Finally, I outline how Ms. Lee and her students oriented to the value of writing in this unit. Findings indicate that Ms. Lee, like many others, privileged print-based forms of writing, even in a more expansive project like the portfolio unit. The students oriented to this value by predominantly making meaning through textual modes throughout their portfolios. Implications extend to teachers expanding their classroom practices beyond the traditional forms of literacy for which they are trained.
Article
In this article, I will examine the use of picture books as a means of supporting the intellectual pursuits of young children. Theoretical frameworks will be discussed as they pertain to the integration of these books in the Municipal Infant Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia and Pistoia, Italy. The pedagogical framework of these schools will be discussed depicting how the sociocultural and the constructivist theories are evident and developed through the careful guidance provided through the triangulation of school personnel, community, and the home. This triangulation places the child at the center of their own learning through investigations, inquiry, and curiosity. A focus will be on the use of picture books in the Italian school culture and how the artistic genre of these books plays an important role in the transference of ideas and subliminal but important messages of literacy.
Article
This paper shares findings from part of a larger project exploring students’ interpretations of children’s literature during independent reading time. Examined in this paper are interpretations by students in Grade 4 (aged 9–10 years) about the messages conveyed in the almost wordless picture book Mirror by author and artist Jeannie Baker. Mirror shares a multicultural perspective on life through its portrayal through collage of the lives of two families living in different countries. Data were collected as semi-structured interviews and observations recorded as field notes. Chambers’ (1994) ‘Tell Me’ framework informed the question schedule of the semistructured interviews, which were designed to promote opportunities for students to share their interpretations following independent reading time. Emerging themes from data analysis are considered through critical literacy lens (Janks, 2010). Further, implications for the use of almost wordless picture books in classroom reading experiences are identified in connection with the development of children’s cultural awareness and sensitivity (Short, 2003).
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In recent years, reading scholars have increasingly attended to children’s responses to picturebook page breaks, reasoning that the inferences young readers make during the turning of the page are central to understanding how children construct continuous narratives in semiotically rich texts. In this paper I argue that comics (including comic books and graphic novels) offer similar gap-filling affordances as picturebooks, but for older children and adolescent readers. A major site of meaning-making in comics is the “gutter” between panels. This is where much of the magic occurs for readers while transacting with the medium. Since the comics medium is popular with many students and has received increased attention from teachers, researchers, and curriculum developers during the multimodal and multiliterate turns of the past decades, I argue that it is vital for educators not only to use comics in their classrooms, but to focus explicitly on gutters in order to exercise the medium’s full potential. Pulling from numerous sources, I provide several pedagogical activities that emphasize gutters as rich sites of constructing meaning.
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This article presents a tripartite framework for analyzing multimodal texts. The three analytical perspectives presented include: (1) perceptual, (2) structural, and (3) ideological analytical processes. Using Anthony Browne’s picturebook Piggybook as an example, assertions are made regarding what each analytical perspective brings to the interpretation of multimodal texts and how these perspectives expand readers’ interpretive repertoires. Drawing on diverse fields of inquiry, including semiotics, art theory, visual grammar, communication studies, media literacy, visual literacy and literary theory, the article suggests an expansion of the strategies and analytical perspectives readers being to multimodal texts and visual images. Each perspective is presented as necessary but insufficient in and of itself to provide the necessary foundation for comprehending texts. It is through an expansion of the interpretive strategies and perspectives that readers bring to a multimodal text, focusing on visual, textual, and design elements that readers will become more proficient in their interpretive processes. KeywordsMultimodal texts-Picturebooks-Interpretation-Comprehension-Visual grammar
Article
The 21st century is awash with ever more mixed and remixed images, writing, layout, sound, gesture, speech, and 3D objects. Multimodality looks beyond language and examines these multiple modes of communication and meaning making. Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication represents a long-awaited and much anticipated addition to the study of multimodality from the scholar who pioneered and continues to play a decisive role in shaping the field. Written in an accessible manner and illustrated with a wealth of photos and illustrations to clearly demonstrate the points made, Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication deliberately sets out to locate communication in the everyday, covering topics and issues not usually discussed in books of this kind, from traffic signs to mobile phones. In this book, Gunther Kress presents a contemporary, distinctive and widely applicable approach to communication. He provides the framework necessary for understanding the attempt to bring all modes of meaning-making together under one unified theoretical roof. This exploration of an increasingly vital area of language and communication studies will be of interest to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of English language and applied linguistics, media and communication studies and education.
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This is a story about a bear named Goldilocks, and a family of people called The Three Bears. What I mean is that this story is sort of likeGoldilocks and the Three Bears, but the opposite. Get it? Well listen to my story and you'll understand.
Wordless picturebooks: critical and educational perspectives on meaningmaking
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