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Volume 27Number 2 publication date:Dec. 2014
Young Children’s Understanding and Response to Picture Book Peritext During Adult-Child Shared Reading
    Author:Wan-Hsiang Chou
Research Article


This study explores young Taiwanese children’s understanding and interpretation of the peritext in picture books, which are the pages often overlooked by adults when reading aloud to children. Research has revealed that peritext, such as the cover, endpapers, title page, or copyright page, is often a rich resource for literary and aesthetic interpretation. Ten 5- to 6-year-old children participated in our study and read four Taiwanese picture books with the guidance of a qualified kindergarten teacher. The books were chosen from 195 Taiwanese picture books according to their diverse peritextual designs. Each book was read twice: the first time was one-on-one reading; the second time a group discussion was held with all ten children. The children were asked to predict the story when reading the front matter, and after finishing the book, they were again asked to interpret the meaning of the front and back matter. The children were also asked to create their own front and back covers or endpapers after each reading. The results showed that the children might extend, add, or revise their predictions as they found more and more clues on the front matter. After finishing the story, the children often found connections between the images in the peritext and text, and some created new episodes of the story based on the images on the peritext. The children’s designs also showed their understanding of the meaning and function of the peritext. Finally, pedagogical and research suggestions were made.

Keywords: endpaper, peritext, picture book, reader response, visual literacy

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