Term of Award

Summer 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

John A. Weaver

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 3

Chris Carger

Abstract

This study was to explore the notion of the power of the picturebook. My intent was to read picturebooks aloud with my reading community not for information or to entertain but to connect the picturebook with the experiences of both the reader and the listener and then to come away from the reading someone new. Ten Gifted and Talented, (GT) fifth grade students, five girls and five boys, participated in the study. This group was predominantly white, middle class. After our read aloud session, the reading community then proceeded to examine both the text and the illustrations aesthetically and critically in order to understand the past, question the present, and imagine possibilities of the future. My theoretical framework for the study was based upon the theories of aesthetic experience (Greene, 1995, 2001; Rosenblatt, 1995) and critical literacy (Freire, 2000, 2005). Upon these two theories, I then built the ideas of Picture Theory (Mitchell, 1994, 2005) as it applies to the illustrations in picturebooks, the evolution of the picturebook (Keifer,1995; Lewis, 2001; Nikolajeva & Scott, 2001; Nodelman, 1988; Norton, 1991) and complicated conversation and creative dialogue (Sumara, 1996, 2002; Gallas, 1994, 2003) in order for the reader to use imagination (Greene, 1995, 2001; Sumara, 1996, 2002; Rosenblatt, 1995). This study represented the effort to challenge my reading community to imagine a world of possibility for others and themselves by reading picturebooks through the lenses of aesthetics and critical literacy. It also represented the effort to challenge educators and parents, alike, to consider reading picturebooks aloud, examining both the text and the illustrations, with their students and children. Each new encounter with a picturebook provides the opportunity for children to connect their lived experience with that particular story. Each encounter provides the opportunity to celebrate difference. Each encounter brings about a different way of imagining. This could be imagining what the author wants us to see, feel, or understand, imagining alternate realities other than those we already know, imagining worlds far different from our own, imagining the past in order to understand the present, and imagining the possibilities of the future.

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