Typography, How Noticeable Is It? Preschoolers Detecting Typographic Elements in Illustrated Books

By Maria Papadopoulou, Polyxeni Manoli and Elisavet Zifkou.

Published by The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 04, 2014 $US5.00

The present study aimed to investigate whether preschoolers, who do not have formal reading skills, can detect information conveyed by typography in illustrated books for children. An additional aim of this study was to examine students' options in relation to their age. Forty six (46) children of preschool age, both boys and girls, participated in the research. Twenty five (25) of them were infants and twenty one (21) were preschoolers. The basic tool used in the research was a page from an illustrated book, which was chosen for its variety of multimodal data based mainly on conventional or expressive typography. Semi-structured individual interviews were used for data collection, which were tape-recorded and, later on, were transcribed and processed. Each interview lasted fifteen (15) to twenty (20) minutes approximately. According to the results of the research, capitalized, bigger or bold letters, the use of underlining, the presence of designs and punctuation marks seemed to have attracted children's attention in combination with their pre-existing familiarity with some letters. The results also highlighted the need for teachers to take advantage of the typographic elements -often abundant in illustrated books for children- and integrate them into the context of developing strategic reading for preschoolers, simultaneously, leaving room for further research.

Keywords: theme: Early Childhood Learning, Typography, Multimodal Texts, Strategic Reading, Preschoolers

The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, Volume 20, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.23-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 04, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 942.374KB)).

Dr. Maria Papadopoulou

Associate Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

Maria Papadopoulou is Associate Professor in Linguistics and Literacy, Head of the Laboratory for “Language and Culture” in the University of Thessaly and Head of the Department of Early Childhood Education. She has served as researcher for European Programs on Literacy and Language Teaching, and as a second language teacher in Greek secondary education. As member of several teams, she developed curriculum and educational material (textbooks and software) for mother tongue and second/foreign languages learning. Her current research interests focus on multimodal texts analysis, production and evaluation of teaching material for literacy, language curriculum and syllabus design, second language learning and children’s perception of verbal and visual texts.

Dr Polyxeni Manoli

PhD Candidate, English Language Teacher, Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

Polyxeni Manoli graduated with a master's degree in applied linguistics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in the School of English Language and Literature. She received a state scholarship at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Currently, she is a PhD candidate for the Department of Early Childhood Education at the University of Thessaly. Her dissertation has been co-financed by the European Union and the Greek national funds through the Operational Program "Education and Lifelong Learning" of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) – Research Funding Program: Heracleitus II, which invests in the knowledge society through the European Social Fund. She has participated in seminars and conferences regarding theories of and approaches to second language learning and teaching. She has published in Hellenic and International conferences as well as journals and has taught the English language in Greek primary and secondary education. Her research interests focus on English language learning and teaching, reading in EFL, reading strategies, strategy instruction, and the multimodality of EFL.

Elisavet Zifkou

Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

She has graduated from the Department of Early Childhood Education in the University of Thessaly. Her research interests focus on the comprehension of multimodal texts by preschoolers.