Using Multimodal Texts in the K-2 Classroom

What are “Multimodal” texts?

Multimodality particularises the communication and representation of ideas which relies on the amalgamation or multiplicity of modes including, “linguistic, visual, auditory, spatial and” (Bull & Anstey, 2010, as cited in Booker, 2012, p.1). Jewitt (2005) states that “print and screen based technologies [or] digital media” (p.1) allow these modes to become available, thus, help to shape the process of meaning making. Within the contemporary classroom, it is critical for teachers to expose children to multimodal texts that they enjoy engaging, connecting and interacting with, in order to further their appreciation of a broader range of literature. Ultimately, multidimensional texts may serve as “powerful motivator[s]” (Booker, 2012, p.1) where children can evaluate the techniques employed by writers to convey and formulate meaning, which provides students with opportunities to understand they too have a choice around what they read and write.

Review of a website-

Aspect of reading to be taught through this website: Vocabulary

review of ABCya

Useful resource to teach K-2 students about multimodal texts

Short Animation Clip – Bernard Bear goes Scuba Diving

So how is this a valuable resource?

This short animation clip effectively depicts how meaning can still be conveyed without the use of a narrator voice over or diegetic sounds, that is, speech. As highlighted by Bull & Anstey (2010), a text may be considered multimodal when it combines “two or more semiotic systems” (para.7). In this particular video, non-diegetic sound effects, gestural movements or actions of the bear and visual elements merge to formulate a story that can still be understood by viewers. More specifically, instead of Bernard bear explicitly remarking “I think there is something behind me”, the deep and threatening sound effects which insinuate the presence of an ominous creature behind him communicate these messages across to the audience. Respectively, this video serves as an exemplar of how quality texts whether digital or print can similarly utilise a range of modes to construct expressive representations of ideas or concepts. Essentially, there is a need to recognise “that we cannot just consider the differences between reading print and [viewing] on screen as static comparisons” (Walsh, 2010, as cited in Hertzberg & Freeman, 2012, p.77). Furthermore the value of this clip extends to enabling teachers in demonstrating to K-2 students how the use of specific vocabulary in writing, particularly adjectives, can allow greater visualisation of meaning.

Book Reviews







Anstey, M. & Bull, G. (2010). Helping teachers to explore multimodal texts. Curriculum & Leadership Journal: an electronic journal for leaders in education, 8 (16), 1. Retrieved June 3, 2014, from,31522.html?issueID=12141

Booker, K. (2012). Practical strategies: using picturebooks to empower and inspire readers and writers in the upper primary classroom. Literacy Learning: the Middle Years, 20, 1-15.

Hertzberg, M. & Freeman, J. (2012). Teaching English language learners in mainstream classes. Marrickville Metro, N.S.W.: Primary English Teaching Association Australia. Chapter 5 – Focus on reading (pp. 77-90).

Jewitt, C. (2005). Multimodality, “reading” and “writing” for the 21st century. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 26, 315-331.


Blair, G. (2012). Book of the Week: Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters [photograph]. Retrieved from

No author. (2013). “The Dark”, by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen [photograph]. Retrieved from

Wood, L. (2012). Peggy [photograph]. Retrieved from


RabbitsRock76. (2010, June 30). Bernard Bear – Scuba Diving . Retrieved from



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