Magical Images: The Effect of Illustrations in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the Reading Experience in Foreign Language Readers
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- Student papers (HF-IKS) 
This thesis examines the effect that illustrations in authentic novels have on comprehension, reading enjoyment and the experience while reading for students attending the last year in primary school. The research will take place in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) setting with Norwegian students. The basic assumption of the study is that the illustrations have a positive effect on the majority of the students’ experience while reading. The study examines students from a Norwegian 7th grade classroom, due to their understanding of the English language, and their maturity in their mother tongue. The text they will read is a chapter from the first book in the Harry Potter series, of which the author is J. K. Rowling. They will also read the same chapter from the illustrated version of the same book, where the illustrator is Jim Kay. The book will be read in English, and the interviews and questionnaire will be in Norwegian. This is due to two elements: The students must be able to read and understand the text fairly well, and they must be able to discuss the topics they encounter when reading during the interviews afterwards. This ensures that no transmission of data becomes lost because of any students lacks skill in articulating their experience in English. The study makes use of both a qualitative and quantitative approach, with interviews being qualitative and a questionnaire representing the quantitative. The choice of semi-structured interviews was due to the focus on the participants own articulation of their experience while reading. This led to open interview questions and a goal of making the interviews more like a conversation than answering questions, in turn making the interviews more flexible and less rigid. The findings from the interviews and questionnaire were then analyzed through the lens of multimodal and image-text theory, along with theories concerning how illustrations could benefit readers who struggled with reading texts. The responses towards the research questions posed in this study indicate that illustrations do have an effect on the experience while reading. Among others, the findings show that illustrations can support struggling readers in the foreign language to extract more from the text, that they can increase enjoyment of the reading experience and a greater ability to retell the contents of the text after reading it.