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Multimodal texts: video

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By Karen Mawer—Year 2 teacher, and a maths and ICT coordinator

Develop visual literacy skills by getting your class to recall and analyse a digital text

Family in a park

Multimodal (or digital texts) can be incorporated into literacy through the use of the internet, digital cameras, sound recording software, presentational software, and so on. The new series by Scholastic, Multimodal Texts, allows you and your class to explore and study these types of media in a safe environment.

The following activity has been taken from Multimodal Texts: Year 2 and uses online video as an example of a digital text.


  • Strand 2: Respond to presentation by describing characters, repeating some highlights and commenting constructively.
  • Strand 9: Sustain form in narrative, including use of person and time.

Responding to the text

  • Watch the clip together and afterwards discuss what it was about. Ask, Who were the characters? Where did they go? What did they see and do? Did they enjoy their trip to the park? From the children’s direct observations, and also using inference, spend some time describing the characters’ appearance and personalities.
  • Consider how music affects film. Ask, What was the mood of the music? (Happy.) Play the clip again with a sad piece of music imposed. Discuss whether this music is appropriate for the clip and how the music altered the feel of the film.
  • Ask the children which part of the clip they liked best and why. Invite them to share their thoughts, first with a partner and then with the rest of the class.
  • Watch the clip again, then challenge each child to draw a sequence of images to retell the story. When completed, ask them to cut up the sequence and give it to another child to re-order.
  • Invite each child to use the re-ordered illustrations to retell the story orally to a partner. Model how to use story language and time connectives to do this.
  • In small groups, encourage the children to talk about their own visits to the park. Ask, Who did you go with? What did you do? Did anything happen while you were there?

Writing activities

  • Explain that a good story follows a four-part series: opening, something happens, events to sort out the problem, ending. Note that the video clip didn’t have any really exciting parts, and suggest improving one part of the story by following the four-part sequence.
  • Consider feeding the ducks. Ask, What could have happened to make the story more exciting here? (A swan could chase the children, for example.) Give each pair a copy of the activity sheet ‘A visit to the park’. Ask them to sequence the pictures correctly then rehearse a simple oral retelling of the events. Point out that they should be telling the story in the third-person past tense.
  • Allow each pair to present their retellings to the group. Agree a set of success criteria for a ‘good’ story presentation before the retellings begin, and ask the rest of the class to evaluate the presentations against this.
  • Challenge the children to write an individual story about a trip to the park. Remind them to use the four-part sequence. Support them in planning the story before they begin writing. Invite them to illustrate each part of their story to make it multimodal.

Go digital with Multimodal Texts

This activity and linking digital resource were taken from the new Multimodal Texts series published by Scholastic. There are six books available – one for each year group from Year 1 to Year 6 – and each book comes with a CD-ROM containing 14 age-appropriate mixed-media texts.

For more information visit the Scholastic teacher shop at and type ‘multimodal’ into the search box.



Allow the children to explore alternatives for what could happen at the park through drama. Record their ideas on a large sheet of paper with an adult acting as scribe. If there is a park near to the school, take the children there to do this as it may inspire more coherent ideas.


Challenge the children to add two events and resolutions to their stories instead of just one. Support them to plan both events before they begin writing.


  • Can the children recall and sequence a story in the correct order? The initial picture sequencing activity should reveal those children who have difficulty with their visual and auditory sequential memories.
  • The children’s stories will be limited by their own experiences of visiting a park, so it is important to consider this when assessing their completed work.

Read last month’s Multimodal texts article on podcasts