On Visual Texts | from the White Spaces #9

Today I’m continuing a conversation begun a few weeks ago when I was talking about my student and his reading of Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. Here’s this week’s addition to the conversation.

For further discussion…

Which type of reading is easier for you: print or image?
I’m definitely more of a print text reader, but I think that has to do with the fact that I’m also an impatient reader. Print text doesn’t take me near as much time as image heavy text does, and if something takes me more than a few days to get through, odds are I’m not going to like it as much. Chopsticks was hard. And it was hard even though I already knew going into it what the major consensus about the end was (darn spoilers). I find that when I read graphic novels, I focus more on the words than on the images, and I have to force myself to slow down and really look at what the art is trying to tell me.

Thoughts on reading print-text and image-laden text in the “real world”?
I feel like I’m advertised at all the time, and my television doesn’t even get channels. I can’t imagine, anymore, what watching television is like as it airs. I think it’s hard for me to talk about other professions and how they use text communication because I’ve never left academia. I’m leaving it up to commenters to help me explain to my students how people outside the world of education use text in their everyday lives.

How do you think social networking and memes have affected our opinions on reading image heavy texts?
I see memes all the time on Facebook and Tumblr. Most of the time I find them to be rather clever.  Memes, however clever they are, skew how a reader interprets the message of an image. I wish I could come up with an example of this off the top of my head, but I can’t. Next time I’m on Tumblr I’ll keep an eye out and edit the post. How many people are going to read past the text and look at what the image is really saying? Especially if it’s easier for the words to tell us what we’re supposed to think of the image.

I think that would be an interesting exercise to do with students. Provide an image without words on it, have them critically read it, then provide an image with words, and see how their interpretation of the image changes based on the print text. Something to think about.

Your thoughts on these questions? 

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