Reading as designing: A multimodal approach to understanding visualizations of literary texts in EFL classes

cat in the rain

WEDNESDAY 11 March 2020,   17:00-18:30

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

What can we learn about student’s understanding of literary texts when we get them to actively visualize and draw the stories they read?

Dr Rumiko Oyama, from the University of Meiji in Tokyo, Japan presents her latest research on university students’ visualisation of literary texts as the basis for understanding their approach to reading.

The empirical data from Dr. Oyama’s research project involve illustrations created by Japanese university undergraduate students with a degree in literature. Further to reading short stories from English literature, such as Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Cat in the Rain’, the students were asked to visualize the elements of the story that are more salient to them and explain the reasons for their choices.

Drawing from multimodality frameworks in the work of Gunther Kress and Theo Van Leeuwen, Dr Oyama analyses the visualisations of student’s verbal narratives about specific literary texts, as a way of tracking what and how students read. These visualisations reveal the challenges arising from making sense of literary texts related to socio-cultural and historical contexts with which the students are not familiar. This is a useful pedagogical tool for teachers, especially in those cases when making sense of the narrative requires that students have a precise grasp of the spatial arrangement of characters and objects involved.


Dr Rumiko Oyama is Associate Professor of English Literature at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan. Her scholarly work develops in the field of ‘grammar’ of iconography and scenography and multimodal approaches to the analysis of texts.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s