Você está na página 1de 8

Bylund Thurnher 1

The Effect of Picture Stories on the Development of Literacy Skills

Kristin Bylund Thurnher UNE 744 Summer A June 23, 2013 Literature Review Part 4

Bylund Thurnher 2 Before recorded language existed people expressed themselves and communicated by drawing pictures. Cave art reminds us of this distant past. Similarly, before students learn to write they learn to draw and experiment with communicating through their pictures. Books with pictures and text are the first books children are exposed to. There is a great wealth of literature that suggests that these picture stories play a powerful role in the development of childrens literacy. Not only do illustrated picture stories enhance comprehension but they serve as segue in to writing. Illustrated picture stories improve understanding by providing a visual display of the text (Seplocha & Strasser, 2012). When students learn to read visual literacy they read the various modes that the text and illustrations interact thus deepening comprehension (ONeal, 2011). Furthermore by conducting a study of the illustrations in picture books and teaching students to understand the precision of the elements used by the illustrators, students are able to apply the same precision to their own picture stories. These concepts eventually transfer to their writing (Wood-Ray, 2010). As an Art\English Teacher in a bilingual school I have always been fascinated with the power of the visual. Although picture books may seem like an easy and basic beginning step in learning to read, the illustrations are not just superficial. They hold significant meaning. When we see a picture we interpret it through our knowledge and experiences. This leads us to a deeper understanding of the message of the image. Just as writers use words to communicate their ideas, illustrators use pictures to communicate these ideas. Although children looking at pictures in illustrated books may seem fundamental and simplistic, picture books actually have a profound effect on students understanding of texts and the development of their own and writing.

Bylund Thurnher 3 The first article I read for this literature review, Using Picture Books to Support Young Childrens Literacy (Strasser and Seploch, 2012) explains that both the text and the picture in a picture book are of equal importance. They explain that picture books provide students with powerful literacy learning opportunities as they hold readers attention, give pleasure through engaging content, accommodate developmental differences, challenge the brain by simultaneously interpreting the text and the illustration, provoke conversation by increasing vocabulary, and connect experiences from real life to text. When read aloud, the most single important activity for children to develop the skills necessary for reading, children obtain general knowledge, learn to think critically, learn the conventions of language, and practice cognitive thinking (Strasser & Seplocha, 2012). The article further discusses the engaging and interesting nature of picture books. The illustrations in combination with the text provide the student with a variety of images that have the potential to evoke a variety of emotions. The diversity of illustrations and text in story books inspire children with new ideas, words, questions, and thoughts. This helps develop the high level of thinking that is necessary for students to read and write. Together the visual and written, work together to interest students though motivating them to learn and read (Strasser & Seplocha, 2012). This supports my own beliefs. In my own experience reading picture stories aloud to both kindergarten and elementary skill students, I have observed the power that the pictures hold over students. They seem to have a memorizing effect on students by setting the tone and mood of the story and evoking powerful emotional responses. As the authors describe the importance of texts in comprehension, I have seen this in my experiences reading to students who are learning English. Here the pictures provide an indispensible element in understanding the text

Bylund Thurnher 4 and learning new vocabulary. Also when reading to students with different abilities, picture books tend to accommodate the language abilities differences as not all students may understand the words but they can all see the text. The authors also mention that picture books have the power to induce critical thinking. While reading aloud to students they are contributing their opinions during and after the texts. These experiences have a powerful aftermath and the students often relate new experiences back to a memorable text. Picture Books also provide an excellent opportunity to learn reading skills. Rather than focusing on teaching reading skills separately, literacy skills can be embedded when using an engaging childrens picture book instead of focusing on skills in isolation (219). Not only do they assist in teaching new vocabulary, but help in developing phonological and phonemic awareness. Students are provided with a visual of what may elude them in the text thus enhancing comprehension. They are provided with how words sound as the teacher reads aloud, increasing their phonological and phonemic awareness. When read in conjunction with learning activities, the interest and comprehension of the book is further supported (Strasser & Seplocha, 2012). This also confirms own belief and is something that I also have found powerful in my own experience working in a bilingual school. Reading picture stories aloud is a great opportunity for students to not only learn new vocabulary but to develop phonological and phonemic awareness. ONeal further explains that the readers full comprehension of picture books is dependent on their ability to read pictures as well as text (2) in Reading Pictures: Developing Visual Literacy for Greater Comprehension. Therefore, it is important for teachers to teach students visual literacy to help them decode the illustrations. When the student is taught the

Bylund Thurnher 5 cultural meanings behind color, line, shape, and style, of the illustrations student gains a deeper comprehension. (ONeal, 2011). According to ONeal, the text and illustration work together in four different modes: reinforcing, description, reciprocal, and establishing. In the reinforcing mode, the illustration directly reinforces the text and helps students learn new vocabulary and decoding skills. In the descriptive mode the illustrations use expressive elements of color, line, shape, and composition which can enhance the readers understanding of setting, characters, and tone. In the reciprocal mode, the illustrations tell more of the story than the text. In the establishing mode, the illustrations have a parallel story that expands or contradicts the text. Due to the variety of modes, students must learn to read the pictures just as well as the text to understand the writer and illustrators message. Therefore teaching visual literacy is essential for students (ONeal, 2011). The information that ONeil explains serves to reaffirm my current teaching method. As I read to students I often ask them what is going on in the picture and I point out the details. We often spend a minute discussing the picture after I have read the text. This allows the student to spend equal time reading the text as reading the picture. During this time we see how the picture supports or contradicts the text and how it conveys the writers message. The final piece of literature in this review, Wood-Rays book, In pictures and in words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration study, also describes the importance of reader attention to illustration but as a method to develop writing style. Through a study of illustration students learn the significance and importance of the images. Like the writer chooses which words to use to best convey their message, the illustrator chooses the

Bylund Thurnher 6 precise detail in their picture to evoke what they want to express. Through this study of illustration students are taught the basics of writing through a means they can use before they actually can write (Wood-Ray, 2010). Both in writing and illustrating, the creator must create something from nothing and undergo complex steps that lead to a well structured final work. Both writing and illustrating require the creator to make decisions about the audience and what emotional responses they want to evoke, plan, draft, and revise. The creator must be aware of the significance that every word and detail in the illustration has on the reader. With the understanding of this concept, students illustrate their picture stories with more intent and understand the importance of images in their stories. They are able to transfer this concept to the same steps in composition. This leads them to develop an understanding for writing as well as experiment with their own style (Wood-Ray, 2010). This text was particularly important in supporting my personal belief in the importance of letting students draw in class. Although some parents question this, this text supports that drawing is actually a form of pre-writing and serves to support the picture stories that I use often in class. I often ask children to think of a sentence or two (depending on their English level) describing what they did on their holiday and draw a picture of it. Although this may seem simple and basic the Wood Ray text supports this. The information in this book supports and reaffirms my own beliefs in the importance of learning how to read illustrations for new readers. The literature used for this study provided trustworthy information that confirms my own opinions of the power of illustrations in picture books. Pictures hold an equal amount of importance as text as they are woven together. This literature provides a strong case for the

Bylund Thurnher 7 benefit of pictures to the deeper understanding of a text and the development of writing in logical and sound manner. Each article was supported with investigations to back their assertions. The book was written in congruence with the author investigating a study of illustrations in her own class. The information from these texts is thus trustworthy and all of texts were all written for teachers and those in the teaching field. In conclusion, with the support of the texts used in this literature review, it can be asserted that picture books play an important role in the development of literacy for children. Reading picture books aloud in class allows students to be engaged and improve reading and decoding skills, along with think critically. However it is not enough to just read the story aloud. Teachers must also teach students visual literacy and how to read the illustrations not only to enhance comprehension but to understand the elements of writing. Reading illustrations and

understanding the same precision went into them as the text has the power to teach children writing skills as the illustrator approaches writing with the same methodology as reading.

Bylund Thurnher 8 References O'Nel, K. (2011). Reading pictures: Developing visual literacy for greater comprehension. Reading Teacher,65(3), 214-223. Strasser, J., & Seplocha, H. (2012). Using picture books to support young children's literacy. Early Childhood Education , 83(4), 219-224. Wood-Ray, K. (2010). In pictures and in words: Teaching the qualities of good writing through illustration study. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.