Translation:What's written on the blackboard? I can't see it clearly.
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You are right. When看followed by书, it means "read". However, 看can also mean see, look and watch. When 看is followed by 电影 (movie), it means watch movie. When看is followed by 一眼, it means "have a glance". e.g. 他看了一眼那个女孩，然后快步走开。He had a glance at that girl and quickly walked away.
What are written isn't correct english, things written on something are taken as a single object when asking what they are in this way.
What is written on the blackboard?
What has been written on the blackboard?
What are those things written on the blackboard?
To use "are" it needs to be quantified to show you are talking about a certain number of things on the blackboard