Words and Pictures: a multimodal approach

Author: Helen de Silva Joyce and John Gaudin, Publisher: Phoenix

We live at a time when traditional ideas of the book are being challenged by new technology that places greater emphasis on visual and spoken communication. The classical printed book is giving way to the more schematic and graphic arrangements of web-pages, advertisements and multimodal publications.

Learning to read and write in this new environment presents new challenges. Children’s picture books provide a useful way of exploring how these changes are taking place. Looking closely at how picture books succeed in combining words (text) and pictures apprentices students into reading and producing multimodal texts.

Words & Pictures traces the historical development of picture books, examines the way stories are told through both text and pictures and explores some of the major themes which feature in picture books. It provides frameworks for analysing picture books and a range of activities for the classroom.

As well as examples from other picture books reproduced in Words & Picture,  Phoenix Education has published two picture books which illustrate many of the features and approaches described in Words & Pictures, I Can Do it Myself by Helen de Silva Joyce and illustrated by Jennifer England, and Rebel by Allan Baillie and illustrated by Di Wu.


To the Reader


  • Why picture books?
  • What are picture books?
  • What is the value of picture books?
  • How do picture books work?

Chapter 1 A History of Picture Books

Chapter 2 Narrative and Picture Books

  • Narrator
  • Character
  • Action
  • Time
  • Setting
  • Plot

Chapter 3 Pictures in Picture Books

  • The representational function
  • Representing narrative visually
  • The Interpersonal function
  • Modality
  • Composition
  • Challenging Conventions
  • Style, intertextuality and genre

Chapter 4 Some Themes in Picture Books

  • The world of the child
  • Gender
  • Diversity
  • Death
  • History and fantasy

Chapter 5 Picture Books in the Classroom

  • Accessing picture books
  • Analysing picture books
  • An analytical framework
  • Sample analyses
  • Practical activities



More Information
Year Level Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10
Date of Publication 2011
ISBN 9781921586231
Subject English
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