Picturebook read-alouds in a foreign language: Mediation for children’s multilingual agency

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The objective of this empirical study was to investigate the affordances of picturebook illustrations for children’s language development during repeated read-alouds in English foreign language (FL) sessions. In pre-primary FL contexts, picturebooks afford language and literacy benefits and contribute to children’s overall development (Mourão & Ellis, 2020), yet often picturebooks are selected for the words they contain rather than the multimodal affordances they provide for authentic, agentic interactions (Bland, 2013).

Following a socio-constructive framework which respects children’s transactional, agentic interactions (Sipe, 2008) using their linguistic repertoires (Lüdi, 2006), this study was conducted within a qualitative, interpretive paradigm (Merriam, 2010). Data collection involved transcriptions of 21 video recordings of repeated picturebook read-alouds and a researcher journal. Analysis was conducted through a directed content analysis. The participants were three groups of Portuguese pre-primary children aged 4 to 6 years old (n= 84). Informed consent was collected from carers and children’s consent was negotiated during the data collection period. Pseudonyms replaced children’s names.

Children responded to the multimodality of the picturebook and used their linguistic repertoires according to the response categories of a grounded theory of literary understanding (Sipe, 2008). An overview of the response categories identified in the data is presented, together with instances of children ‘giving away the punchline’ and producing ‘accumulated narratives’, all examples of agentic behavior in response to the picturebook. Conclusions provide implications for mediation of picturebook read-alouds in a FL which respect agentic response categories and children’s linguistic repertoires.

Period1 Sept 2023
Event titleEECERA ANNUAL CONFERENCE: Children’s Curiosity, Agency and Participation: Challenges for Professional Action and Development
Event typeConference
Conference number31
LocationCascais, PortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational