Beyond the semantics of objects and texts: Semiotic artefacts in library story time sessions

Start:  Sep 20,   2018 17:00 PM
End:    Sep 20,   2018 18:30 PM

Location: Room 803, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL

This seminar focuses on the use of picture books and other props (e.g. puppets, toys, musical instruments) in storytime sessions at public libraries, where staff engage young children and their families in shared reading, singing and dancing, reciting nursery rhymes, storytelling, and craft.

Taking a multimodal social semiotic approach, Dr Emilia Djonov and Dr Maree Stenglin define these objects as ‘semiotic artefacts’, i.e. semiotic resources that incorporate selections from various modes (e.g. written language, visual design, texture) and media (e.g. visual, tactile). Drawing on observations and recordings of storytime sessions at public libraries across New  South Wales, Australia, and interviews with their presenters, they examine how such semiotic artefacts are multimodally integrated into the social practice of storytime, and how their integration may support the key goals of storytime – to  foster language and literacy learning, love of reading, and a sense of belonging to a community of readers.

 About the speakers
Dr Emilia Djonov is Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Language and Literacy at Maquarie University, Australia. Dr Maree Stenglin is an independent researcher currently working at Macquarie University on the project ‘Early Language and Literacy in NSW public libraries’.

The Visual and Multimodal Research Forum is a platform for academic discussion on multimodality which is free and open to all postgraduate research students and other researchers from both UCL and other universities. The Forum is one of the activities of the UCL Centre for Multimodal Research and is facilitated by Sophia Diamantopoulou. For any enquiries, please contact For information about future events visit:

Image: Courtesy of Blacktown City Libraries, New South Wales, Australia


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