Picture books in EFL; vehicles of culture and visual literacy

  • Anna Birketveit Bergen University College
Keywords: picturebooks, culture, visual literacy, motivation, extensive reading, iconotext


Drawing on recent developments within the teaching of foreign languages, this article discusses the potential of picture books in teaching visual and verbal reading skills in English as a foreign language (EFL). Learner motivation is considered to be of increasing importance, and the article discusses various aspects of picture books which can contribute to learner motivation for reading. Through a thorough examination or the iconotext and peritext of three picture books, this article discusses how the interaction of pictures and words work together to bring across messages. In The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith traditional fairy tales are subverted and interrogated. In Rose Blanche by Ian McEvan and Roberto Innocenti, a child’s experience of the Second World War is explored, and in Zoo by Anthony Browne, the text addresses both the child and the adult reader on the serious themes of human nature and animals held in captivity. Additionally, the pedagogical potential of each text is discussed.


Author Biography

Anna Birketveit, Bergen University College
Associate Professor
Section A