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Comics in education. The link between visual and verbal literacy: how readers read comics

Helsby, Wendy Frances (1999) Comics in education. The link between visual and verbal literacy: how readers read comics University of Southampton, Faculty of Educational Studies, Doctoral Thesis , 302pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


This case study investigates how readers read comics. The work, based upon Roland
Barthes' concept of relay discussed in Image, Music, Text (1977), considers that a reader
tmderstands the comic at the higher level of the diegesis by switching between signifying
systems. The research fmdings suggest that the reading of comics requires visual and verbal
intermediate literacy skills and that textual coherence occurs for readers when they reach the
critical point in their own reading. The coherence of the text and critical point for the reader
are achieved as a result of the cOlmections between the signifying systems of description and
depiction, at the level of the individual sign and the textual structure. The analysis of such
data as the features of the comic and readers' responses to texts, proposes a model based
upon the concept of a core and periphery spiral. It suggests that knowledge frameworks,
visual and verbal literacy and the metalinguistic skill of 'relay' are required to read the comic
text; but in order to reach a critical point for understanding these need to be synthesised with
affective responses. The comic form is also placed into a cultural and literacy context and
implications of the fmdings for using this form in education are discussed.

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Published date: June 1999
Organisations: University of Southampton


Local EPrints ID: 194425
PURE UUID: d6c62038-d14f-483a-9a87-b53d0b5455f2

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Date deposited: 27 Jul 2011 15:58
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:27

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Author: Wendy Frances Helsby
Thesis advisor: Andrew Hart

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