GraphicaI have been reading "Advetures in Graphica: Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Comprehension, 2-6. by Terry Thompson. Chapter seven "In the Mind's Eye: Making Mental Images and Inferring" is a particularly interesting chapter and well worth reading, particularly if you want to have a slightly different take on visualisation and comprehension.
He goes on to say that visualisation is not like a static picture or photograph, it changes and becomes more like a movie as the story unfolds. It incorporates movement, sounds, smells, taste, touch, and feelings. The mental images integrate your past experience and with perceived elements within the story. Inferences are formed when the missing details are filled in by the imagination. Thus, inferences are made by combining the new to the known.
How can graphics help children visualise? It can demonstrate the artist's imagination in various ways by using the graphics conventions such as speech bubbles, narration boxes, panels, gutters, text, etc. to encapsulate action, characterisation, mood, and emotion. For example, mood may be expressed through different variations of colour, line, perspective, font size and style. Children can be encouraged to use their inferencing skills to explore character traits. In the graphics they are able to gain clues as to the mental states of the characters through the depiction of their actions, what they say in speech bubbles, and by the expressions on their faces.
"Because comics represent characters visually, they help the reader in identifying and getting to know them. ..., this can help readers monitor who's speaking and how each character works into the story line. This visual connection to the players in the text frees readers up so they can practice attending to the characters and analyse the important role their presence plays during reading."(page 74).