Reading the Visual

ebook An Introduction to Teaching Multimodal Literacy · Language and Literacy

By Frank Serafini

cover image of Reading the Visual

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Today's teachers need up-to-the-minute information to help their students make sense of the multimodal texts they encounter daily in and out of school. Reading the Visual is an essential introduction that focuses on what teachers should know about multimodal literacy and how to teach it.  This engaging book provides theoretical, curricular, and pedagogical frameworks for teaching a wide-range of visual and multimodal texts, including historical fiction, picture books, advertisements, websites, comics, graphic novels, news reports, and film. Each unit of study presented contains suggestions for selecting cornerstone texts and visual images and launching the unit, as well as lesson plans, text sets, and analysis guides. These units are designed to be readily adapted to fit the needs of a variety of settings and grade levels.

Book Features:

  • An accessible introduction to visual literacy and multimodality.
  • Classroom strategies and demonstrations for analyzing and interpreting multimodal texts.
  • Hands-on examples of units of study for ten types of multimodal texts.
  • Resources for developing and adapting units, including suggested texts, analysis guides, and learning objectives.

"Frank Serafini gets it. He knows that language and literacy were our original multimodal forms. He knows that today they are as crucial as they have ever been, but that they comport with a great many new relatives which are daily widening and transforming what we mean and how we mean it."

—From the Foreword by James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University

"Reading the Visual positions the analysis of visual images and multimodal ensembles as essential to language arts and literacy learning. Serafini's book contributes important scholarship in understanding the theories behind this analysis and the significance of the visual in the many texts we encounter in and out of school settings."

Peggy Albers, Georgia State University

"Reading the Visual is based on wide scholarship; it brings that to a point of profound insight and of intense practicality. Those taking first steps into the area will find a path smoothed by a seductively simple style; those there already are offered constant insight and challenge. It is a book that will be valued by both kinds of reader."

Gunther Kress, Professor of Semiotics and Education, Institute of Education, University of London

Frank Serafini is an author, illustrator, photographer, educator, musician, and an associate professor of Literacy Education and Children's Literature at Arizona State University. Visit the author's website at

Reading the Visual