Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Journeys from images to words: picture books in multilingual classrooms

An article in last week's TES, Pictures really do tell a thousand words, alerted me to this interesting research from Glasgow University. Sub-headed "Glasgow researchers find that images can build language skills", it sounds a bit obvious at first. However, there's more to Journeys - from images to words and back again than the heading implies. Working with classes which included refugees and asylum seekers as well as native English speakers, the researchers were looking for a way to help the children with poor English. However, they discovered that picture books were also of benefit to those whose first language was English, even advanced readers (the classes were P6, so were aged around 10).  They started with completely wordless books and moved progressively to books with no illustrations. Work included putting picture books into words and creating artwork to illustrate text. The research found that these visual strategies “provided a level playing field for all students because there were no expectations about success or failure based on the traditional reading and writing skills”. Find out more at the links above, and see the books used below.

The rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan. This is a story which represents an allegory of colonisation using images and minimal text.

Gervelie's journey: a refugee diary by Anthony Robinson and Annemarie Young, illustrated by June Allan. This is a non-fiction book with text illustrated by line drawings and photographs. It's part of a series in which the authors wanted to allow children to "put their feet in the shoes" of others.
Boy overboard by Morris Gleitzman. A chapter book consisting entirely of words, this tells the story of two children who journey from Afghanistan to Australia.

Update 26/08/13

 Since posting the above, I've come across a blog post by Trevor Cairney at  Literacy, families and learning which is relevant to the idea that pictures can help improve literacy. See "How drawing can improve reading comprehension."

No comments:

Post a Comment