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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reading the visual : the role of picturebooks in facilitating young adult literacy Thomson, Katherine Margaret Nicholson


Many studies have examined the ways in which images in picturebooks aid in the development of positive attitudes towards reading. Additionally, studies have shown the ways that illustrations in picturebooks help readers to connect with literature and to comprehend themes and concepts that might otherwise be difficult to deconstruct. This study investigated whether images in a sample of three complex picturebooks: Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks, The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan and The Island by Armin Greder might be used to support struggling readers in the secondary school classroom. Perry Nodelman’s (1988; 2003) theory of narrative art was used as a framework for a close reading of three sample texts. The decision to use this framework was based on the desire to develop a manageable framework for students that would enable them to confidently read the visual elements of complex picturebooks. Specific elements of Nodelman’s theory: format and design, mood and atmosphere, style of illustrations and visual objects were identified as being elements that can be taught and be plausibly grasped by secondary-aged readers. This study supports the notion that complex picture books provide a valuable resource for teachers to engage secondary-aged readers in critical thought through analysis of the images in these texts.

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