Multiliteracies and Multimodality

My personal belief about literacy is that a person cannot just be literate in ONE single way. Hence, why a person having and being able to be multiliterate is essential. Some examples given in the Dousay article are reading literacy, visual literacy, and media literacy (Page 29). 


This picture clip is appropriate here because even when using a simple word, like “Pie”there are variations on how a person hears, sees, smells, etc. the word.

Student #1 is auditory and hears the word pie and thinks of how the word is spelled as  P-I-E.

Student #2 visualizes a picture of a pie in her mind.

Student #3 is using their senses to think about how pie tastes.



Design activities:

"It is reasonable to think that approaches which provide hands-on 
opportunities to practice and apply concepts may find the most success"
 (Page 30, Dousay). These design activities are powerful learning tools
 in the classroom, especially if that is how a student learns. 

There can be differentiated ways students support and show their ideas.

> >>Digital storybooks, and comic books are just two of the types of design activities that can be beneficial in a classroom. <<<

The use of a multimodal blog, creation of a board game, video, audio report, interview, art project, oral or written speech, play, or musical song are further examples of design activities students can be engaged in within their classroom community.

This is an example of a design activity that my peers and I used when implementing a lesson in ECEL 408, Social Studies and the Arts. We used an engaging and interactive starter activity for our lesson plan on Earth Day. If there is dancing, singing, or something that students are not used to seeing on a regular basis as an introduction to a lesson they might be more interested in the topic going on.

After much exploration on “”, each story presented itself to be so engaging, interactive, and innovative.

As a teacher, I would give my students a task to….

“Create your own STORY (book)”



I am careful here in the language I present the assignment with. I would present them with the task of creating the story (book) in any fashion they would like and this is why I choose not to use the word “write”, although we will see this will be a component. 

  • The few requirements my assingment would have would be that the story has to be 
    • Engaging
    • Creative
    • Must contain some WRITTEN LANGUAGE
    • Must have a clear beginning, middle and end

Some of the different ways (I would expect) my students would present their work would be: a ‘typical’ book, an Ebook or an interactive story. My hope for this assignment would be that students find their creative side in whichever way suits their needs.

I remember creating my own story book(s) as early as kindergarten and first grade, with assistance of course. They were simple  bound books. One of the books was about my birthday. My teacher scribed the words onto each page and it was followed by a drawing I had created. It’s really awesome to be able to look back and remember these experiences and having this book as a memory to hold onto.

“Which ever way we look, written language is not going away” (Page 15, Cope & Kalantzis).

Even though today’s technology and media presence are ever growing and expanding, written language is still a necessity to our children in school, and is an important part of the world surrounding us.

The assignment I previously described also ties directly to students different learning styles. 


These seven “modalities of meaning” are found on(Page 12-13, Cope & Kalantzis)

  • Written language
  • Oral Language
  • Visual Representation
  • Audio Representation
  • Tactile Representation
  • Gestural Representation
  • Spatial Representation

Young students may not be able to recognize the ways they learn and understand material best, but once students reach higher grade levels this is something they should start to understand about themself. As a teacher, it is critical to differentiate your teaching styles as well as assignments and assessments in order to reach each student as effectively as you can. 




2 thoughts on “Multiliteracies and Multimodality

  1. Marissa, I really liked your first picture in which students were presented with the word “Pie.” The image perfectly displays how different students react/think when certain words come to mind. It perfectly shows how different all our students are.
    I really liked the “Create your own Story book” and how you mentioned you would carry out the activity. When teachers have their students only “write” they are limiting their creativity. You were very considerate of your students when you mentioned “I am careful here in the language I present the assignment with.” Students can be creative through their writing, but there are so many other options that teachers should also encourage their students to use
    In the end, I do agree that written language won’t go away. I feel that people are very concerned with the fact that technology is taking over. We are advancing as a society with new technology each day, but that doesn’t mean that written language will be forgotten. I strongly feel that the advancement in technology will only help enhance our written language.


  2. I love the video you posted! You’re right, we cannot categorize being literate in one category. We need to view being literate as something beyond reading and writing from a book. The picture you posted about the pie really represents that there are different ways to view a simple word. My first blog, I mentioned my brother and his struggles with dyslexia and his inability to read words. My brother has created his own type of literacy by completely ignoring words and only using his visuals to interpret things. As a society, we need to understand that everyone is unique in their own way and we need to make accommodations for their differences. We cannot simply change a person, because of their difference. However, we need to change ourselves and view differences as something special.

    As aspiring teachers, I think its really cool that we are being educated in the era of technology. We are learning about all these different types of learning materials that we can incorporate into our future lessons. We are full of ideas! I really like that you would allow your students to create a story in any form, I would do that same. It allows our students to be as creative as possible, but still be able to use literacy!

    Good job 🙂


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