...from images to words and back again

Overview in Brief

This project involved researching, testing and evaluating a new approach to teaching and learning in order to enhance the language and literacy of children from diverse backgrounds and improve learning support at a time of changing educational needs. The increasing number of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds, many of them New Arrivals, presents both challenges and opportunities to schools in terms of teaching and learning. This new approach builds on the potential of image and visual strategies, often overlooked in the curriculum, as a means of addressing the complex issue of literacy development.

Project Aims

1. To adapt and advance the previously successful strategies to extend language and literacy in a whole class context (including English as an Additional Language (EAL)/ immigrant pupils and struggling readers).

2. To investigate children’s visual and text-based home literacy practices.

3. To approach the themes of migration, journeys and intercultural encounters in an inclusive manner through meaningful texts.

4. To involve all the participants in evaluating the efficacy of these strategies, through focus groups with children, interviews with teachers and the invitation to parents/carers to comment on a visual display of the children’s work.

Select Summary of Findings

The children expanded their communicative language competencies, including the use of new vocabulary, in order to describe what they saw in the images and to express their ideas and feelings about the story, characters and other visual and textual aspects.

Home literacy practices, including popular culture multimodal literacy practices for enjoyment and for functional purposes were brought into the classroom and discussed. There was a gradual emergence of home languages and cultures in the discussions and creative responses as well as a realization that these were valued in the classroom context.

The potential and efficacy of children’s literature for approaching intercultural topics was made evident as it provided a way into a meaningful discussion of issues around the ‘Other’, particularly different cultures, beliefs and languages.

Children’s literature and activities for language development allowed shared and inclusive critical reading practices to emerge.

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Teaching Tools

Start your own journey of discovery by using our set of teaching tools, practical in-class activities, and suggestions to help children from diverse backgrounds enhance their language and literacy skills.

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Research in Full

View the project reseach in full and download the extended Teaching Pack to compliment our teaching tools and suggestions. You can also discover related academic publication in visual literacy and intercultural responses.

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Featured Books

View the texts, which were used during this project and find out what made them suitable for use in the classroom.

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