ELA 5: How Illustrations Deepen Understanding of Text

Pictures in books aren't just for little kids. They can accompany text to deepen or clarify meanings. Plus they're each worth a thousand words, which is why we've been collected pictures for years. We don't know how much a word is worth...but we're fairly certain we're going to be rich any day now.

5th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School5th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:27

college textbooks.

00:29

Why? Because illustrations can do some important, interesting work, [Man at a construction site and falls over]

00:33

so it looks like they're here to stay.

00:35

Here's a quick illustration that shows how we feel about that!

00:38

Authors and illustrators generally work together to create the mood of the text and deepen

00:42

a reader’s experience of a story. [Man and woman working at a table]

00:44

Illustrations can help introduce characters, emphasize funny or scary parts of a story,

00:49

or maybe even help explain parts of the story that a reader might find confusing. [Coop explaining illustration pros]

00:53

All in all, that's a lot of things accomplished with just some pretty pictures.

00:57

Illustrations usually don't show everything that happens in the text in picture form,

01:00

which is good, because nobody wants to carry around novels that weigh 50 pounds. [Man carrying heavy book and falls over]

01:04

Instead, illustrators focus on a scene, a moment, or a few short lines of text to show

01:08

in their pictures.

01:09

That helps bring these moments into focus, and ensures that the page count stays under

01:13

five hundred million.

01:14

But you know what…heavy books would be a good way to work out your body and brain at [Man struggling to hold a heavy book]

01:18

the same time.

01:20

Hmm… Maybe we’re onto something. We'll call up our local gym in a few minutes, but

01:23

for now, it's example time.

01:25

Let's say we have two authors, Peter and Paul. [Peter holding a book]

01:28

Peter's book is about a revolutionary thinker who is constantly punished for his views

01:33

The illustration of his book helped to reflect that and helped to emphasize the theme of isolation.

01:39

Paul's book on the other hand is pretty different.. It's about a happy-go-lucky puppeteer.

01:45

It wouldn't make a lot of sense if Paul's book had the same style of illustration's as Peter's...

01:49

That'd just be super confusing, like why is the happy puppeteer all by himself in such a sad, bleak world.

01:55

Naturally then, Paul's book is full of colorful, bright pictures. It's a world that celebrates fun and captures [Man with puppeteer on a fair ride]

02:02

the bubbly personality of the puppeteer.

02:04

So whether you're trying to conjure a world of fun and balloons

02:07

or narrow-mindedness and punishment, illustrations can really help you get that mood across. [Man in jail watching man with a puppeteer]

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And because we like you, we’ll stick with the fun and balloons for today.

02:14

Maybe we’ll even throw a lollipop in there.

02:16

Isn’t it nice to be on Shmoop’s good side? [Girl holding balloons and a lollipop]