On Dec. 7, Emily Porter and her poster were in the Manwaring Center ballrooms, among numerous other presenters and posters at the Research and Creative Works Conference. Her research focuses on the visual rhetoric of wordless picture books.

“Just because they’re so different from your traditional picturebooks … the absence of words is just fascinating,” said Porter.

Emily Porter by her poster

Emily Porter by her poster Photo credit: Josh Markham

Porter majors in English and minors in child development. In her study, she found that the absence of words encourages children to look at the structure of the pictures as plot elements.

“That allows them to create meaning out of the abstract pictures,” Porter said.

According to Porter, her preparation goes deeper than just demonstrating the direction of words — it demonstrates the nature of the words themselves.