Young primary students making sense of text and illustrations about how refuse can become soil

Lisbeth Åberg-Bengtsson, Dennis Beach, Agneta Ljung-Djärf

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Explanatory pictures and models are frequently used in teaching and learning situations. However, it seems to be simply assumed that they are always beneficial. In this article results from an investigation with 16 Swedish pupils aged 7–9 year are presented based on an analysis that has examined how well this assumption holds up. Concepts from multi-modal theory have been used to investigate how young learners deal with illustrations and text from an early reader booklet about composting domestic refuse. The analysis suggests that expectations that illustrations facilitate the meaning-making of young pupils may be exaggerated. Although the booklet claimed to provide interactive support between image and text most of the examples show pupils ignoring pictures or misinterpreting vital information about composting in both the verbal and non-verbal material. The illustrations did not compensate for the most crucial deficiencies in the written text.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1150-1168
    Number of pages18
    JournalEnvironmental Education Research
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Pedagogy (50301)


    • Environmental education
    • illustrations as support to text
    • making of meaning composting refuse
    • young primary students


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