Multimodal Perspectives of Language, Literacy, and Learning in Early Childhood

The Creative and Critical "Art" of Making Meaning

  • Marilyn J. Narey

Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 12)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Marilyn J. Narey
    Pages 1-22
  3. Beyond Words

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 23-23
    2. Margaret L. Brooks
      Pages 25-44
    3. James Haywood Rolling Jr.
      Pages 45-65
  4. Contexts and Layered Texts

  5. Visions

  6. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 315-315

About this book


Our image-rich, media-dominated culture prompts critical thinking about how we educate young children. In response, this volume provides a rich and provocative synthesis of theory, research, and practice that pushes beyond monomodal constructs of teaching and learning. It is a book about bringing “sense” to 21st century early childhood education, with “sense” as related to modalities (sight, hearing), and “sense” in terms of making meaning. It reveals how multimodal perspectives emphasize the creative, transformative process of learning by broadening the modes for understanding and by encouraging critical analysis, problem solving, and decision-making.

The volume’s explicit focus on children’s visual texts (“art”) facilitates understanding of multimodal approaches to language, literacy, and learning. Authentic examples feature diverse contexts, including classrooms, homes, museums, and intergenerational spaces, and illustrate children’s “sense-making” of life experiences such as birth, identity, environmental phenomena, immigration, social justice, and homelessness.

This timely book provokes readers to examine understandings of language, literacy, and learning through a multimodal lens; provides a starting point for constructing broader, multimodal views of what it might mean to “make meaning;” and underscores the production and interpretation of visual texts as meaning making processes that are especially critical to early childhood education in the 21st century.


visual language and literacy children's drawing development drawing stories and graphic narratives resilience and art intergenerational art program MAKESHOP and studio thinking art and social justice early critical literacy teacher reflection and reflective practice creative thinking toddler and preschool experiences YouTube videos in preschool 21st Century learning co-drawing semiotics

Editors and affiliations

  • Marilyn J. Narey
    • 1
  1. 1.Narey Educational Consulting, LLC PittsburghUSA

Bibliographic information