4 Friends

Novi Ong

This chapter will describe reflections on teaching and learning experience in planning, co-constructing and creating a multimodal text with a 6 year old child, who is currently in Year 1. Student’s early reading and writing development will be reviewed and the use of ICT for enhancing curriculum learning opportunities and other resources will be discussed.


The Australian Curriculum English outlines the following goals for Year 1 students:

Literature (creating literature):

  • ACELT1586 – Recreate texts imaginatively using drawing, writing, performance and digital forms of communication

Literacy (creating texts):

  •  ACELY1661 – Create short imaginative and informative texts that show emerging use of appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal elements, for example illustrations and diagrams

Language (text structure and organisation):

  • ACELA1450 – learning about how books and digital texts are organised including page numbers, table of contents, headings, images with captions and the use of scrolling to access digital texts

These content descriptors were used together with an understanding of semiotic systems from multiliteracies theory to establish the following learning objectives:

By the end of the learning experience, the student will be able to plan, co-construct and create text using drawing, writing, oral rereading and exploring digital forms of communication (iMovie).The student will use appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal element, including drawings, text, music and storytelling. The student will learn how books and digital text are organised, labelling images and use of scrolling to access digital texts.

Three photos joined together of a child's hand on a computer
Before constructing and creating multimodal text, the 6 year old (Year 1) child was shown some photographs from the recent holiday to the beach. Discussions of strategies for making a new friend were brought up and we talked about some feelings associated with meeting a new person. Some relevant words on the main events of the child’s experiences were listed and together we were sounding out and chunking words to make meaning for her to type.


Before creating a multimodal text, the student experienced a stimulating, authentic, multisensory experience by going to the beach and making a new friend. This is in alignment with Language Experience Approach (LEA) as suggested by Stauffer (1970, as cited by Fellowes and Oakley (2019) in their book Language, literacy and early childhood education.

Planning included choosing the topic to write about a recent holiday to the beach to meet Mum’s old friend and her daughter. This topic has a strong connection and relevancy as the child has an introverted personality and was developing her social and emotional skills.

Feelings associated with making a new friend was familiar for her as she recounted her recent holiday experiences. This helped her make connections with the world around her when learning literacy.

Before writing, photographs from the recent holiday to the beach were viewed and event sequences are recounted. Some new vocabulary was identified and the child learned how to write/ type them.

Some digital platforms were also explored, for example, PowerPoint presentation, Book Creator and iMovie.


One photo of child artwork titled friends and one of child's messy handwriting
Some options of digital platform were discussed and the child showed interest in operating some of the ICT she had been using at school, for example, Book Creator. The child was able to write using her finger on the iPad and she made some illustrations for the story.
Four photos of child's hand either drawing or writing on paper and tablet
After experimenting on the use of Book Creator, we decided to write it on paper because the child struggled to control the size of the letters when writing her sentences on Book Creator, she did not speak clear enough for voice-to-text recognition and the task started to consume too much time.
Two photos of child's handwriting and drawing
The child was more confident and found enjoyment when working with paper and pens, generating ideas, writing text, editing, creating illustrations and adding colours and decorations on the book. These seemed to give her a greater sense of achievement.


One of the disadvantages of e-LEA, when a young child’s speech is not clear enough to be recognised by voice to text tool, may make it more time consuming than traditional LEA (Fellowes & Oakley, 2019). The child took pride in creating the book. While working, some observations such as correct pencil grip and writing postures were made. The child also did some self-assessment by crossing out her spelling mistakes, making sure that capitals and full stop were also used. However, consistencies were not always evident.

While working with iMovie, the student learned to read with a suitable pace to match with the music and text video. She also learned scrolling to control the digital text, especially when choosing the music to match it. Some ideas and discussion on which music would suit the emotion of the text were also brought up, for example, more dramatic music as she expressed a nervous feeling, happy tunes for going to dinner and to eat ice cream, and sad/ melancholy melodies as she said goodbye to her new friend.


The student was assessed against the learning objectives, and assessment included:

  1. Creation of texts that show understanding of the connection between writing, speech and images using digital forms of communication
  2. Making a short presentation on familiar topics, providing details of ideas or events, and participants in those events
  3. Use of accurate spelling of high frequency words or Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words
  4. Use capital letters and full stops, and correct forms of all upper- and lower-case letters
  5. Interaction in pair discussions, taking turns when responding

A highlighted assessment rubric

Source: Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, (2022), licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.



  • Talk with your child of the topic that interest them, it is beneficial if it is about a recent experience, so they can write about what they see, hear, feel, smell, taste (multisensory experience).
  • List down some words that maybe useful in writing and if it may be useful to organise thoughts in certain sequence
  • Let the child explore some potential digital platforms you might want to use and the functions available


  • Don’t rush the child, allow enough time depending the child age, engagement and interests (This is where planning ahead becomes handy!)
  • Don’t be afraid to try different platforms
  • Don’t be afraid to be flexible with your planning!


What worked well for you in co-creating the multimodal text or working with the child?

In co-creating a multimodal text with a child, choosing a relevant topic with what the child is experiencing worked well for me. By doing this, the child just needed to write about their experiences. Allowing more time and giving small breaks in between would also let the child work with enjoyment, without being pressured. For me, this was the most important aspect to avoid rushing and stressing the child. The process of co-creating multimodal text needs to be an enjoyable experience for both the adult and the child. This is where creativity flowed and gave enjoyment.

What should readers avoid in co-creating multimodal texts or working with children?

Make sure the platform is suitable for the age group and not too complicated as this will make the child lose their confidence. Always make the experience a positive, pleasant one when creating.

Overall, how did you find the activity of co-creating a multimodal text with a child?

Overall, I found the experience enjoyable and pleasant. It is interesting to see what the child can achieve, both with or without help during the process. This also give the child a sense of achievement, when she participated and did her best in each part that she was able to take part in.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a relevant topic together
  • Plan the topic, content, sequence and useful words
  • Explore different platforms and their functions
  • Allow time and breaks
  • Have fun and enjoy co-creating!

The co-Constructed Multimodal Text


Fellowes, J. & Oakley, G. (2019). Language, literacy & early childhood education (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority – QCAA]. (2022). Prep English sample assessment. https://www.qcaa.q1d.edu.au/p-10/aciq/frequently-used-resources/sample-assessments/australian-curriculum-english/prep-english-sample-assessment


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