Teacher mediation for response and agency: Picturebook read-alouds and storying

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Picturebooks are a magical, multimodal form of children’s literature and, in the field of foreign language education, have been considered a rich and authentic source of meaningful input for over four decades (Mourão, 2017). Although associated with younger learners, it is now widely accepted that contemporary picturebooks are not age limited, for a good picturebook will invite readers of all ages to use their critical interpretative skills to reflect deeply on the often-complex issues they find there (cf. Alter & Merse, forthcoming).

In my talk I will begin by introducing picturebooks as ‘artistic, literary, semiotic, and multimodal entities’ (Serafini & Reid, 2022). I will then present a set of response categories (cf. Arizpe et al., 2014; Mourão, 2016; Sipe, 2000) which recognise that all learners engage with a picturebook in a transactional sense, and in the context of language learning, use their linguistic repertoire as a bridge to access the target language. Providing examples from empirical research in primary and secondary EFL classrooms (Mourão, 2013; 2015; 2023) I will suggest that a language teacher requires a specific set of mediation strategies to foster and scaffold opportunities for individual interpretation and language use. I will propose that learner agency results from the tripartite interaction between the picturebook, the teacher and the learner(s) and conclude with reflections on the implications for language teacher education
Period2 Feb 20233 Feb 2023
Held atColumbia University, United States, New York
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • picturebook read alouds
  • response
  • teacher mediation
  • education