The production and use of wordless picture books in parent-child reading : an exploratory study within a South African context

Le Roux, Adrie (2012-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis is an exploratory study into the feasibility of the use of wordless picture books with the aim to develop a culture of and love for reading within the South African context, as approached from my viewpoint as an illustrator. Despite a growing body of literature that advocates the use of wordless picture books in educational and literacy development, not much research exists on their use within the South African context exists. Additionally, there are few locally published wordless picture books available in South Africa, with the market being dominated by American and European imports. Those that do exist locally lack variety and are largely labelled as educational. In addition, South Africa has a very low general reading rate, with reading and books being viewed as synonymous with an academic activity or obligation. Further, children are not encouraged to read for enjoyment at home, as their parents often do not have a reading culture of their own. Although educational books can be used in the home for joint reading, the use of books that are created for ‘strictly educational purposes’ leads to a risk of losing the magic of reading purely for enjoyment. A risk that runs parallel with this is the perpetuation of this negative view of reading in general. The inherent characteristics of wordless picture books serve as motivating factors that could contribute to developing a more positive attitude to books in general, and as such, foster a culture of reading that parents can transfer to their children. Through a semiotic and narratological analysis of wordless picture books, as well as a conceptualisation of the medium in my practical work, I debate the strengths of the medium as applied to the South African context. An empirical study forms part of this research in an effort to understand better how these books would function in joint reading between a child and their parent or primary caregiver. My fundamental argument is that the creation, production and use of this genre of picture books should be considered more favourably, and warrant further investigation within the South African context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie verhandeling is ‘n ondersoekende uitvoerbaarheidstudie oor die gebruik van boeke sonder woorde om ‘n kultuur van en liefde vir lees in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks te ontwikkel ,soos gesien vanuit my uitgangspunt as illustreerder. Ten spyte van ‘n groter wordende omvang van literatuur wat die gebruik van boeke sonder woorde in opvoedkundige- en geletterdheidsontwikkeling voorstaan, bestaan daar weinig navorsing oor hul gebruik in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Daarbenewens is daar min boeke sonder woorde wat plaaslik uitgegee word en word dié mark deur invoere uit Amerika en Europa oorheers. Dit wat wel plaaslik beskikbaar is, toon ‘n gebrek aan verskeidenheid en word meestal as opvoedkundig beskou. Verder het Suid-Afrika ‘n baie lae algemene leesgeneigtheid waar lees en boeke as sinoniem met ‘n akademiese aktiwiteit of verpligting beskou word. Voorts word kinders tuis nie aangemoedig om vir die genot daarvan te lees nie, omdat hul ouers dikwels self nie ‘n leeskultuur handhaaf nie. Hoewel opvoedkundige boeke tuis vir gesamentlike lees gebruik kan word, skep die benutting van boeke van ‘n ‘suiwer opvoedkundige aard’ die risko dat lees bloot vir die genot daarvan, verlore mag gaan. ‘n Risiko wat gelyktydig hiermee ontstaan, is die voortsetting van ‘n negatiewe siening oor lees. Boeke sonder woorde beskik oor inherente eieskappe wat as motivering vir lees dien en sodoende ‘n positiewer ingesteldheid teenoor boeke in die algemeen ontwikkel. Hierdeur kan ‘n kultuur van lees gekweek word wat ouers weer aan hul kinders kan oordra . Deur middel van semiotieke en narratologiese ontleding van boeke sonder woorde, sowel as ‘n konseptualisering van hierdie medium in my praktiese werk, beredeneer ek die sterkpunte van die medium soos toegepas binne die Suid-Afrikaanse opset. ‘n Empiriese studie vorm deel van die navorsing ten einde ‘n beter begrip te kry oor die benutting van dié boeke in gesamentlike lees tussen die kind en sy/haar ouer of primêre versorger. My grondliggende argument is dat die skepping, produksie en gebruik van hierdie genre van prentboeke sonder woorde gunstiger oorweeg behoort te word en verdere ondersoek binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks regverdig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20177
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