Older Children's Responses to Wordless Picturebooks: Making Connections
Children's Literature in Education
This article explores 11-year-old children's connections to prior knowledge and experiences while reading a wordless version of Little Red Riding Hood. The study extends pre-existing research on reader response theories by focusing on images instead of written text. The approach taken places emphasis on the reader's active engagement, for readers use visual decoding skills and culturally oriented knowledge in an effort to interpret the wordless story and fill its gaps. A multiple case study
... gn was implemented involving sixteen students from Greece and England, all being in the final year of primary school and identified as fluent readers. The participants in each country, separated into two groups of four, read the book in an empty classroom, with no teacher intervention. The aim was to identify patterns in their unmediated responses, and to present and analyse the themes of their connections based on empirical evidence. The participants linked the illustrations to their common general knowledge, including cultural references and gender-based generalisations, to personal experiences, and to other texts such as books and films. The findings reveal the prevalence of common themes in their interpretations of the story and encourage engagement with wordless picturebooks, even for older students. Due to their special nature and complexity, these books can initiate interesting conversations on issues such as identity and gender diversity.