One Fourth-Grader’s Orchestration of Modes Through Comic Composition

Stephanie F. Reid, Lindsey Moses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Language-oriented literacy standards offer mostly linguistic accounts of text complexity. In response, the present article demonstrates that multimodal and visual narratives offer additional ways to understand and discuss text complexity. This descriptive analysis of one fourth-grader’s comic provides an account of the multimodal patterns and orchestration noted across the pages of the comic. Data sources included the published comic, as well as a multimodal artifact elicitation interview conducted with Sabrina, a fourth-grade student. The authors show how Sabrina constructed a complex multimodal text by drawing not only from her knowledge of image and written language but also from her experiences with spoken language, touch, facial expressions, and gesture. These findings suggest that it would be beneficial for teachers and researchers to continue to create curricular space for multimodal composing opportunities and that stakeholders in language arts and communication education might deepen collaborations to develop instructional frameworks that support students as they compose using modes beyond language across the grade levels.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWritten Communication
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • elementary education
  • multimodal composition
  • visual narratives
  • writer’s workshop
  • writing instruction


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