Cultivating Visual and Print Literacy with Picture Books

Resource type
Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
Picture books are one of the most popular forms of books among young children. They provide hours of enjoyment, excitement, anticipation and relaxation through thestories and images readily available to young, soon-to-be readers. The artworks in picture books can provide a very rich experience to young students that are beneficial onmultiple dimensions. As students learn to question, scrutinize, decode symbols, problem-solve, and communicate their ideas, they engage in both visual and printliteracy practice.This thesis focuses primarily on visual literacy as it relates to printliteracy development. I will argue that as students practice visual literacy they also develop a basis for print literacy and build a solid foundation for further readingdevelopment. The development of visual literacy cannot be quantified, nor can one remove all visual aspects from one’s life in order to scientifically study its effects. Therefore,because of the nature of visual literacy, this paper focuses on the overlappingrelationships that exist between visual literacy and print literacy development. Many ofthe overlaps include processes that are challenging to pinpoint and define such asknowledge, understanding and language. This results in a philosophical and theoretical discussion concerning the development of a literacy foundation based on communication, comprehension, coding, motivation, experience, reading strategies and transfer. This paper concludes with a critical analysis of current approaches to teaching visual literacy as it relates to print literacy development in today’s classrooms. Strategies for teachers are provided, from choosing picture books and illustrations, to structuring the discussions and engaging the students. A suggested approach is also provided, along with a sample plan and discussion questions for teachers of primary students to use and adapt to suit their own classroom needs.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Richmond, Stuart
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