I have to say, I never thought I’d be writing a blog post about Typography! I’m learning so much from our book study! Have you had a chance to read Chapter 5 of Reading Picture Books with Children by Megan Dowd Lambert?
What is Typography?
On page 38, the author defines typography as “the arrangement and design of the words on the page… a visual representation of oral speech….” We, as school librarians, have the privilege of helping children to experience picture books spoken aloud as they learn how those spoken words tell a story. Our students learn to decode words in the classroom, but we get to bring those phonetic sounds to life with our story times!
Voices In the Park
Do you have this picture book in your collection? Look at the way that the different typefaces show different characters’ perspectives. The typography of the title on the front cover gives us a sneak preview of the differences.
This book would be fun to discuss with older students, too. I know that our students LOVE to spend time changing the font whenever they are creating a document or slide show. Voices in the Park would be a great picture book to share with them. We could talk about the impact of those font choices, and how they might sound different when read aloud. (I’ll be adding this to my next book order!)
As you watch this short video book trailer for Bully, you can hear how the children’s voices grow louder as the typeface grows larger, and grow softer when the typeface shrinks. A perfect illustration for the power of typography!
A Visitor for Bear and Library Lion are also good examples of how large capital letters make us read them LOUDLY! Have you ever tried the author’s strategy of reading those big capital letters in a whisper voice to see what your students say?
Give ‘Em Helvetica
Should typography be integrated (almost invisible), rather than distracting? Apparently this is an opposing school of thought in picture book studies. Personally, I prefer the picture books with typography that adds to the story, rather than blending in.
I’ll be watching as I read stories aloud to my students to observe the impact of typography on our discussions. How about you?