When students meet complex, multimodal texts

A descriptive case study looking at reading and writing in a Social Science classroom in Lower Secondary School.

Taking a quick look at the texts students of today are exposed to, it becomes apparent that multimodal texts constitute a large percentage of texts students meet both in school and outside of the school setting; both through printed as well as through digital media. In keeping with the technological development, texts have become more complex in that more meaningful resources are being utilised and that these resources are contributing to the comprehensive creation of meaning. Such complex multimodal texts require different skills from the reader than what is required for the reading of pure verbal language texts.

This project is grounded in the idea of Disciplinary Literacy; different subjects have different epistemologies, goals and mindsets, thus various literacy practices. (Berge, 2005, 2007; Langer, 2011; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008, 2012) Compared to Natural Science, there is little literacy research in Social Science classrooms. In the field of Social Science it is natural to read multimodal and multiple texts, and to use strategies like sourcing, corroboration and contextualization. (Wineburg 1991;2000) This project is a descriptive case study aiming to say something about how this is and can be done in a Social Science classroom in Lower Secondary School.

Author: Hanne Egenæs Staurseth