Pictures and picturing: mental imagery whilst reading illustrated novels

Aggleton, Jen (2022). Pictures and picturing: mental imagery whilst reading illustrated novels. Cambridge Journal of Education (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764x.2022.2081669

Abstract

The medium of illustrated novels has been neglected by educational research, and the limited current research on the influence of illustrations on a reader’s mental images is largely negative in tone. However, by adopting a participatory multiple case study methodology, this research provides a new understanding of the nature of mental picturing when reading illustrated novels. In exploring the responses of five 9–10-year-old participants to three illustrated novels, this study demonstrates that the interactions between illustrations and mental pictures are more complex than previously theorised. In addition, far from having a negative impact upon mental picturing, the potential of illustrations to interact with mental pictures should be embraced by practitioners as an opportunity for growth, enjoyment, and increased criticality and creativity.

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