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ERIC Number: EJ862015
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 36
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 90
ISSN: ISSN-1086-296X
Young Children's Interpretations of Page Breaks in Contemporary Picture Storybooks
Sipe, Lawrence R.; Brightman, Anne E.
Journal of Literacy Research, v41 n1 p68-103 2009
This article reports on a study of the responses of a second-grade class to the page breaks in contemporary picturebooks. In a picturebook, the text and accompanying illustrations are divided into a series of facing pages called openings, and the divisions between the openings are called page breaks or turns. Unlike a novel, in which the page breaks are arbitrary, a picturebook's page breaks have been carefully considered by authors, illustrators, editors, and designers, and thus possess complex semiotic significance. No research exists on children's interpretations of what might have happened from one opening to next, yet this activity is important because children must fill in the natural gaps created by the page breaks to make meaning and to construct a continuous narrative. During a series of readalouds of five picturebooks, the classroom teacher asked the students to speculate on what might have happened "between" the pages. Findings based on qualitative content analysis suggest that, with relatively little teacher direction, there were at least seven ways young children responded to the question of what happens in this liminal space: (1) speculating on actions the characters might have performed; (2) creating imaginary dialogue that might have occurred among characters; (3) creating possible thoughts and feelings of characters; (4) talking about likely changes of setting between page breaks; (5) speculating on the amount of time that might have elapsed between one page opening and the next; (6) hypothesizing about the changes in the reader's perspective from one opening to the next; and (7) observations about the change from one literary genre to another during the page breaks. Findings also suggest that children began to speculate on their own about page breaks, without the stimulus of the teacher's question. More research is clearly indicated in this area for various ages of children and books of differing literary genres in order to build on, refine, our knowledge of the ways children interpret the "space between" the openings of picturebooks. Encouraging children to speculate about page breaks develops inference-making and positions them as co-authors, adding another element to their literary repertoires. (Contains 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A