Examining children's comprehension of conventional, wordless, and postmodern picturebooks




Willson, Angeli Marie

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This qualitative study examines children's comprehension of conventional, wordless, and postmodern picturebooks. The research question was: How do children construct meaning of conventional, wordless, and postmodern picturebooks? More specific questions were: 1) What are the reading strategies that children use as they make sense of conventional, wordless, and postmodern picturebooks? and 2) How does the type of picturebook appear to influence the children's reading strategies while reading conventional, wordless, and postmodern picturebooks? Data were collected during individual think-alouds, collaborative book talk, and participant interviews at the end of the study. Data were audio- and video- recorded, transcribed, and analyzed following the Constant Comparative Method (Corbin & Strauss, 2008).

Findings indicate that children engage in various reading strategies while transacting with texts. This study showed that they analyzed the texts and engaged in making inferences about character traits, feelings, and thoughts majority of the time. These inferences were mostly based on the words and illustrations of the picturebooks. The participants of this study also engaged in other reading strategies categorized as expressive, connective, metacognitive, and social.

This study also indicates the potential for integrating wordless and postmodern picturebooks in the classroom. Wordless picturebooks can be used in aiding students to generate inferences, especially about character feelings and thoughts, and hypotheses about the theme of the stories. Postmodern picturebooks offer a myriad of possibilities in the areas of metacognition and author/illustrator craft analysis.


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Children's literature, Conventional picture books, Picture books, Postmodern picture books, Reading comprehension, Wordless picture books



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching