Macquarie University
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Exploring the potential of picture books for promoting critical multimodal literacy in young children: a study of picture books about child refugees

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posted on 2023-11-24, 04:07 authored by Lynette Mun Yee Cheng

Picture books have long been recognised as an important resource for teaching children about complex social themes, from friendship and family relations to war, poverty, and inequality, thereby supporting the development of critical literacy. As picture books create meaning through the interplay of modes such as language and images, they are also a key resource for fostering multimodal literacy. Previous research, however, has tended to consider critical and multimodal literacy in isolation from each other, and studies of critical literacy rarely consider the years prior to school. This is why little is known about the potential of picture books to promote critical multimodal literacy in early childhood, that is, to draw young children’s attention to the role that words, images, and other semiotic resources play in raising complex social issues. This study takes a step towards addressing this gap through the critical multimodal discourse analysis of three award-winning picture books for 3-5-year-olds that represent the experiences of child refugees. The findings may support teachers looking to develop their capacity to foster critical multimodal literacy in young children through picture books. They may also inform curriculum design and future research aimed at promoting critical multimodal literacy in the prior-to-school years.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction -- Chapter 2: Literature Review -- Chapter 3: Methodology -- Chapter 4: Analysis -- Chapter 5: Discussion -- Chapter 6: Conclusion -- References

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Master of Research

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie School of Education

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sarah Powell

Additional Supervisor 1

Belinda Davis


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




159 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 254784