Exploring Reader-Text Transactions Between Wordless Picture Books and Young Children

Rong Zhang, Purdue University


Wordless picture book reading is one of the common literacy practices for young children that happen at schools and homes. This dissertation of three studies explores the reader-text transactions between young children and wordless picture books in three ways: a content analysis of wordless books potentially featuring characters of color, a multimodal analysis exploring children’s multimodal meaning making, and a mixed-method content analysis analyzing children’s performing social imagination and narrative imagination and change over time. Through analyzing a set of 39 wordless picturebooks with protagonists that can be potentially identified as people of color, the first article analyzed the books’ book themes, story events, and illustrations to explore how such books can function what Bishop suggested as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors and support young children to learn about themselves and others. The second article explores the potential of preschoolers’ multimodal meaning making during reading wordless picturebooks. Multimodal meaning making can be valued as literacy practices that are closely related to reading comprehension, teaching instructions, and assessments. The third article focuses on kindergarteners’ use of social imagination and narrative imagination during reading wordless picturebooks that reveal young children’s active engagement and meaning making in reading. This series of articles hold implication for teachers and researchers to understand the potential of using wordless picture books for young children’s access to diverse topics of readings, literacy practices, and assessment, specifically children’s imaginative and multimodal ways of responding to reading of wordless picture books.




Wright, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Multicultural Education|Reading instruction

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