11 Going to the Park and the Library

Julie Turner

This learner is chronologically 11 years old but is verified for visual impairment, physical impairment and intellectual impairment and has autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She is working at Foundation year level.


I initially consulted the Australian Curriculum (AC) English for Foundation year achievement standards (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], n.d.) and then focused particularly on:

Literacy (creating texts):

  • ACELY1651 – Create short texts to explore, record and report ideas and events using familiar words and beginning writing knowledge
  • ACELY1652 – Participate in shared editing of students own texts for meaning, spelling, capital letters and full stops
  • ACELY1653 – Compose spoken, written, visual and multimodal learning area texts
  • ACELY1654 – Construct texts using software including word processing programs

General capabilities:

  • Literacy
  • ICT

Erin and I discussed text types and we decided upon using a recount for the multimodal text. Talking further about audience types, I asked, “Who is this text going to be for?” and we decided upon family.

I used a planning framework for a recount which allowed for the explicit teaching of text structure (Introduction, description of events, the order in which they occurred and a conclusion) and use of language features (Fellowes & Oakley, 2020).

I used the Electronic Language Experience Approach (e-LEA) to encompass use of digital technologies and multisensory experiences (Fellowes & Oakley, 2020). With this approach, semiotic systems and multiliteracies theory were the overarching frameworks.

Using ICT

The use of digital technologies, according to the SAMR Framework (Puentedura, 2012, as cited by Fellowes & Oakley, 2020) identifies Substitution and Augmentation as enhancing the learning tasks or experiences, and it identifies Modification and Redefinition as transformative for learning. The iPAC framework (Kearney et al., 2012, as cited by Fellowes & Oakley, 2020) is the theoretical underpinning for the mobile learning toolkit and has the three signature constructs of Personalisation, Authenticity and Collaboration which was utilised to frame pedagogical soundness for the creation of the co-constructed multimodal text.
Girl with thick glasses readingDevelopmentally Appropriate Technology should:

  • Encourage collaboration, e.g., pair with co-constructor.
  • Support integration, in a range of curriculum areas – in this case A.C. English.
  • Support play, e.g., role play – we can act out the animals we see.
  • Give control – the child is in control of the software not the other way round.
  • Be transparent and intuitive.
  • Support development of health and safety issues.
  • Support involvement of parents. (Fellowes & Oakley, 2019)


The composition of Multimodal texts is a requirement of the AC and recommended by the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [DEEWR], 2009). Drawing upon multiliteracy theory, we explored multimodality and the interplay between different representational modes, in this case visual, linguistic and audio for learning and communicating. The teaching strategies I used were a) Setting Goals, b) Structuring Lessons, c) Explicit Teaching, d) Worked Examples, e) Multiple Exposures, f) Feedback, g) Metacognitive Strategies, and h) Differentiated Teaching (Victoria State Department of Education and Training [DET], 2020). We used the structural and language aspects of the planning framework for the recount, and I aimed to develop the child’s comprehension by using activation and the use of prior knowledge (Victoria State DET, 2019).

These photos show Erin being a Text encoder (Luke & Freebody,1992, as cited in Fellowes & Oakley, 2019) and using e-LEA as a framework.

child looking closely at photo
Erin as a text encoder
woman and child looking at photos
Using e-LEA
woman showing child a photo
Elaboration of the multisensory experience

Producing the illustrations: Erin cannot draw therefore the photographs of the multisensory experience were used in sequence and her sequencing was scaffolded by the teacher.

Eliciting the oral story involved discussing what happened and when. Multiliteracy Theory espouses variability of meaning-making in relation to language use. We discussed the story in multi-contexts, for example, while we engaged in the multisensory experience, while we planned the lesson, while we sequenced the photos and while working with the PowerPoint and with Erin’s words, thus creating meaning from language in relation to the learning in many contexts.

I assisted Erin in bringing together the words for her recount and the visual aspect using the sequenced photos. Erin spoke the words (which were recorded and embedded in the powerpoint) and I transcribed them.

Erin engaged with the technology ‘owning the learning’. Owning the learning is a feature of developmentally appropriate technology. When we give control, the child is in control of the software not the other way round.

I expanded Erin’s vocabulary through her choice of books from the library after our park and duck pond walk. Her comprehension developed through activation and using prior knowledge to make connections, visualising, and asking and answering questions (Victoria State DET, 2020). We used two dimensions of multimodal literacy: Text Participant and Text User roles (Luke & Freebody, 1999, as cited by Fellowes & Oakley, 2019.) Multiliteracies Theory (New London Group, 1996) states that multiliteracies relate to using multimodalities to learn and communicate, encouraging engagement with multiple literacy methods such as linguistic, visual, audio, spatial and multimodal. These modalities were engaged with during the e-LEA learning and co-creation of the multimodal text.

child reading with woman closely watching
Erin as a text participant

The Australian Curriculum English requires Foundation level students to start learning about the use of word processors (Fellowes & Oakley, 2019) with research showing that their use can lead to better writing processes and products in young children, and this may improve motivation. Zevenburgen and Logan (2007, as cited in Fellowes & Oakley, 2019) show that for children with different abilities, it may be easier to use a tablet or computer to write rather than a pencil and paper.

We used modelled and shared reading. For example, together we found our birds in additional resources from the library, ensuring multiple modes of exposure (Victoria State DET, 2019). Erin learned concepts of print with semiotic systems both written and linguistic in use, as well as metacognitive strategies (Victoria State DET, 2020). She also demonstrated being a Text Participant through reading different parts of the library books about birds.


One of the key ideas of Australian Curriculum English is for children to learn to appreciate literature. It acknowledges a variety of approaches to literature emphasising enjoyable encounters with a wide variety of texts. The Literature strand of the English curriculum aims “to ensure students convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others and entertain” (ACARA, n.d.). The purpose to “develop confident communicators and imaginative thinkers becoming informed citizens” (ACARA, n.d.).

Comprehension was encouraged by building on making connections using three of the “the super six “ comprehension strategies: Questioning, modelling and inferring (Oczkuz, 2004). We created meaning from different modes, written and visual, using semiotic systems and categorising groups of birds and developing the child’s knowledge of semantics. Comprehension was facilitated using discussions with the teacher who modelled questioning and inferring. The child also questioned and inferred, hence making connections and building comprehension.

Content from the Australian curriculum was addressed by exposure to multiple texts relevant to the multisensory experience building an enjoyable appreciation of literature, the conveyance of information and ideas from the child to the teacher and target audience.


I modelled shared writing to Erin whilst scribing the story (e-LEA). Erin had thought about and then orally recounted her multisensory experience.

child looking at laptop screen

I listened to the recorded sentences and repeated them back whilst ‘thinking aloud’, describing how to do the writing using upper-, and lower-case letters, spaces and full stops (ACARA, n.d.).

woman pointing at laptop screen while child watches

Social semiotic theory holds that literacy is a social process of creating and making meaning from multimodal signs (Fellowes & Oakley, 2019, p. 5). Our walk was a social experience which is considered an essential aspect of literacy learning, serving as both a context and mode of learning. Together we co-constructed the text describing our walk.

back view of woman typing on laptop keyboard while child watches

Completion of the e-LEA

We re-read the story to complete the story. This was completed on a different day to the multisensory experience, which is a feature of the iPAC framework.

child pointing at laptop screen

The co-constructed text included the Multisensory experience, elaboration of the experience, a detailed discussion and retelling. It further included production of the illustrations, eliciting the oral story, scribing the story and re-reading the story.

child reading laptop screen

Throughout this activity, we practiced fluency by modelling, recording and listening back to the text. Erin developed her knowledge about the relationship between spoken and written language, the relationship between written language and images plus she gained knowledge of graphic symbols, concepts of print, conventions of writing and visual resources and their contexts of use. This model emphasises the influence of context (Fellowes & Oakley, 2019). Throughout the activity, the educator also gave feedback about the child’s learning relative to the lesson goals.

child reading laptop screen closely

Multiliteracy theory proposes that a definition of literacy should be broad to reflect cultural and linguistic diversity and have a multitude of communications channels through which people choose conveyance of meaning. This has been an effective and engaging way to work on the co-construction with Erin who utilises a multitude of communication channels.

Outline of the child’s learning

Erin’s lesson and learning covered the Creating Text’s sub-strand of the Australian Curriculum English Literacy strand with modelling of ACELY’s 1652, 1653 and 1654 which she is working towards. Achievement of ACELY 1651 was evidenced, as well as ACELY’s 1645, 1646, 1648,1649,1650 and 1784 and ACTDIK001.


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

What worked well was breaking it down into a series of events using a Language Experience approach via a lived experience and scaffolding the learning from there using multiple learning strategies, with a Multisensory experience, elaboration of the experience, detailed discussion and retelling, production of the illustrations, eliciting the oral story, scribing the story and re-reading the story. This helped in creating a deep and meaningful learning experience.

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

I would suggest avoiding using technology you are not familiar with as this will likely distract from the process.

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

It was an immersive process which was enjoyable to both child and teacher, producing a tangible and enduring piece of work. This was particularly inspiring for the child who doesn’t handwrite and struggles with more traditional literacy expectations.

Key Takeaways

Multimodal texts are accessible, motivating, and immersive opportunities for students to engage with literature and literacy.

The Co-Constructed Multimodal Text


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (n.d.) Australian Curriculum English (Version 8.4). https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/english/?year=11574&strand=Language&strand=Literature&strand=Literacy&capability=ignore&capability=Literacy&capability=Numeracy&capability=Information+and+Communication+Technology+%28ICT%29+Capability&capability=Critical+and+Creative+Thinking&capability=Personal+and+Social+Capability&capability=Ethical+Understanding&capability=Intercultural+Understanding&priority=ignore&priority=Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+Histories+and+Cultures&priority=Asia+and+Australia%E2%80%99s+Engagement+with+Asia&priority=Sustainability&elaborations=true&elaborations=false&scotterms=false&isFirstPageLoad=false

Victoria State Department of Education and Training. (2019). Guide to the Literacy Teaching Toolkit: Foundation to Level 6. https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/discipline/english/literacy/Pages/default.aspx#empty

Victoria State Department of Education and Training. (2020). High impact teaching strategies: Excellence in teaching and learning. https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/practice/improve/Pages/hits.aspx

Oczkus L. (2004). Super 6 comprehension Strategies: 35 lessons and more for reading success. Christopher-Gordon Publishers.

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

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-93.

The Mobile Learning Toolkit. (2012). iPAC Framework. http://www.mobilelearningtoolkit.com/ipac-framework.html



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Co-creating Multimodal Texts with Young Children Copyright © 2023 by Julie Turner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book