The shape of text to come

Supplementary resources

Additional support for educators using the PETAA publication The shape of text to come: How image and text work by Jon Callow

This web page offers additional support for working with the print and eBook versions of The Shape of Text to Come. It includes information about assessment, links to the Australian Curriculum and an extensive webliography with links to other professional and educational sites dealing with visual texts and visual literacy.


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Book cover with stones on which title text appears

What is the shape of text to come?

Nearly everyone in Western culture is impacted by visual texts each day, learning how to respond to them and understand them in order to go about their daily lives. Educators, however, have a particular interest in understanding how visual texts work. We need understand how to best teach our students to enjoy, engage with and critically interpret all types of texts.

The Shape of Text to Come: How image and text work is designed  to explore both image and word, while at the same time acknowledging that other modes and communicative forms are part of the literary landscape. The book and this associated web page are intended to engage readers both affectively and intellectually, given the importance and power of emotional engagement as part of our understanding of visual images.

The Shape of Text to Come also seeks to provide a way for teachers to understand how images work in their own right, as well as in relation to written text. Text, in the broad use of the term, can be print, screen-based or live presentation and performance. A variety of modes can be utilised through each form, such as word, image, sound, music, movement, video and interactive elements. The term ‘multimodal’ acknowledges this variety of meaning-making resources (see Chapter 1 (.pdf 822 kB)).

In developing a language to talk about visual and multimodal texts, Chapter 2 When Image and Text Meet presents a semiotic framework for understanding and talking about both images and written text.


 Register        


 Metafunction                                                            

 
  Meaning-making focus

 Field

What’s happening?

Visual and verbal resources for expressing actions and ideas, presenting characters or participants and showing circumstances.
 Tenor How do we interact and relate? Visual and verbal resources for interacting with others, showing feelings, attitudes, credibility and power relationships.
  Mode How do design and layout build meaning? Visual and verbal resources for organising logical and cohesive texts.

Each of the three areas above are explored in detail throughout the book. View the whole functional semiotic model (.jpg 667 kB)


The Shape of Text to Come | Jon Callow

Assessment

In The Shape of Text to Come, assessment of students’ visual and multimodal literacy skills should follow similar principles to that of all types of literacy learning, being integrated, student focused and related to the classroom curriculum. Since multimodal theory recognises the significant influence of technology and associated multiliteracies practices, assessment should also reflect integrated learning experiences, co-operative tasks and on-going development of portfolios and work samples which can cross print, performance and screen based literacy learning.

Assessment techniques and tasks should:
  • be part of authentic learning experiences
  • utilise quality texts, such as picture books, information books, screen based texts as well as texts that students create
  • involve ongoing, formative and well as summative assessment
  • involve students using a metalanguage as part of the assessment
  • provide focused activities where student talk and understanding is focused on specific visual and textual aspects (time to look think deeply and talk about visual texts is very important)
  • provide a variety of ways for students to show their skills and conceptual knowledge.
  • include student made visual responses (drawing, painting, multimedia) to the texts used in the classroom (based on Callow, 2008)

In most classrooms, assessment is part of a teaching/learning cycle, where teachers plan in light of syllabus outcomes, observe and evaluate as they teach, assessing student learning formatively and modifying lessons as appropriate. Engaging learning activities provide assessment opportunities, where more teacher-guided tasks give way to student control, as they practice new skills and develop ideas.

All literacy learning should occur as part of a wider context, whether an author study, modeled reading lessons, factual curriculum-area reading or another planned learning experience, such as a film making competition, children’s writers' festival or school performance events. Working with multimodal texts creates new challenges for learning and assessment. Bearne (2009) details the importance and challenges of assessing student created multimodal texts, both screen and print, and some ways to go about this in the classroom. Having a metalanguage to describe visual elements is a key feature.

The following tables are based on the Shape of Text to Come and the Show Me framework (Callow, 2008) and provide examples of relevant metalanguage and assessment questions in relation to informative, imaginative  and persuasive text. The assessment ideas below assume that any text used will be part of a meaningful learning context, so that the student is assisted to see assessment as related and meaningful to class activities. The associated strands, sub strands and threads link assessment to the Australian curriculum.


Assessment guide for students engaging with visual and multimodal texts


Engagement and enjoyment — 
visual features to assess/ metalanguage to use

Suggested assessment questions                              

Australian Curriculum links

Initial prediction about the text from book cover, screen, flick through of images/ pages, etc.

Engagement (positive and/or negative) with the text.

Elaborations may include:

  • looks at images while reading
  • comments on images (independently or when prompted)
  • returns to look at particular images
  • shows enjoyment in reading/viewing.

What do the pictures tell you about what this text (book, website, advertisement etc.) might be about?

What elements attract you to this page? What elements don’t appeal to you?

Choose a section/double page spread/screen from the website to focus on.

Is there a part of this page/screen that really appeals to you? Tell me why.

Is there anything in the pictures that don’t appeal to you or annoy you? Tell me about that

Each year level description includes the following key element:

Students engage with a variety of texts for enjoyment.

With increasing sophistication, by Year 8 level descriptions also include:

Students engage with a variety of texts for enjoyment. They listen to, read, view, interpret, evaluate and perform a range of spoken, written and multimodal texts in which the primary purpose is aesthetic, as well as texts designed to inform and persuade. These include various types of media texts including newspapers, magazines and digital texts, early adolescent novels, non-fiction, poetry and dramatic performances. Students develop their understanding of how texts, including media texts, are influenced by context, purpose and audience.

Key points for using assessment ideas tables below

Before or after reading any text (imaginative, informative or persuasive), include discussion of some of the key points:

Cultural context: Where might we find similar texts (stories, websites, books, movies) to the one we just watched? Have you read/ viewed any similar types of texts? (could be anime, picture book, website, movie etc.)

Australian Curriculum: English link – Literacy – Texts in context – Focus of thread within sub-strand: Texts and the contexts in which they are used. How texts relate to their contexts and reflect the society and culture in which they were created – Foundation to year 8

Audience and social purpose: Who would most likely be interested in reading or viewing this? Why might they choose to read this story/ access this information book/ go to this website?

Australian Curriculum: English link — for example ACELY1658 onwards, Year 1–8: Describe some differences between imaginative informative and persuasive texts

Text type: What types of text are similar to the one we have just read / viewed? ( narrative, poetry, recount, explanation, persuasive or a perhaps a combination of these on a webpage)

Australian Curriculum: English link – Language – Texts structure and organization – Focus of thread within sub-strand: Purpose audience and structures of different types of texts. How texts serve different purposes and how the structures of types of texts vary according to the text purpose.

The Shape of Text to Come | Jon Callow

Assessment ideas for informative texts


Visual features to assess /
metalanguage to use


Suggested assessment questions or prompts

Language

Literacy

Happenings for informative texts

Some images show actions or events, while others show concepts (such as symbolic images or icons, diagrams, cross sections, tables and graphs). Choose a specific page to focus on during or after the reading. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

  • describes actions and events, pointing to evidence in the picture (names object or animal, describes their actions)
  • uses both image and text to gather information
  • identifies type of conceptual image for example Flow chart, Cross section, Diagram or Graph
  • identifies icons, signs and symbols.

After discussing the overall purpose of a page/screen, point to a specific part of the page/screen:

Image with actions

What things are happening in this picture? What do we learn about the topic from this picture? (note if they use label or written text to assist). Tell me what information you can find just in the pictures / just in the written text. When do you have to use both?

Conceptual images

Can you tell me the type of illustration this is? Ask for specific information about:

  • Flow chart – describes sequence and purpose
  • Diagram/ cross sections with labels, scale, key – reads key information from picture and text
  • Graphs (bar, column, line, pie) – finds specific information
  • Maps with journey lines, keys – finds key features, explains purpose
  • Timeline – finds information and shows knowledge of time order.

Expressing and developing ideas

Visual language

How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

ACELA1548

 

Texts in context

Texts and the contexts in which they are used

How texts relate to their contexts and reflect the society and culture in which they were created

ACELY1645
ACELY1686
ACELY1708


Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

Comprehension strategies

Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

ACELY1680
ACELY1692
ACELY1703
ACELY1801
ACELY1722


Visual features to assess /
metalanguage to use


Suggested assessment questions or prompts

Language

Literacy

Interacting and relating for informative texts

Choose a page with a person or object that has a particular shot distance, use of angles and/or use of colour. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

  • shows participant whose gaze makes a demand with viewer and explains affect
  • describes shot distance used ( close, mid, or long shot)  and possible influence on viewer
  • describes particular angle (low angle, eye level, high angle) and possible affect on viewer
  • describes colours and justifies how it supports credibility or authenticity of image or diagram

Are there people in this image looking directly at the viewer? How does this make us feel about them?

Are there any close up or mid shots on this page? How might these affect our feeling about the people in the picture?

(examples can include paintings, pictures and photos of famous people, people from various cultural groups, explorers)

Are we looking at eye-level in this picture? Or are we down low or up high? Tell me how this makes a difference to how you feel about a person or object (for example, viewing a tall building from the base suggests a powerful building or city)

Are there realistic photographs or diagrams? Do they give accurate information? How do you know?

What types of colours are used? Why?

Expressing and developing ideas

Visual language

How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

ACELA1548

 

Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

Comprehension strategies

Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

ACELY1680
ACELY1692
ACELY1703
ACELY1801
ACELY1722


Visual features to assess /
metalanguage to use


Suggested assessment questions or prompts

Language

Literacy

Design and layout for informative texts

Choose a page or screen with a variety of elements in the picture  to assess design and  layout choices. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

  • identifies salient part of image and explains reasons
  • identifies strong lines (vectors) that drew their gaze
  • identifies a possible reading path
  • identifies how elements are grouped, symmetry or balanced on the page
  • discusses what elements are on the top or bottom, left or right or centre, and why they may be placed there.

Sometimes a part of a picture will really attract our attention. When you first look at this picture, what part do you look at first? (Have them glance away then look back at the page and think about this.)

Why do you think you look there?

Where do you look next? Trace the path your eyes take on the picture with your finger.

Are there any strong vectors that your eyes followed? Show me (for example, the line along an arm or along the edge of an object, or the suggested gaze of a character)

Can you see any patterns (lines, curves, shapes) or symmetry across the page?

Are any important elements placed on the top or the bottom, in the centre? On the left or right? Why might they be there?

Text structure and organization

Concepts of print and screen

The different conventions that apply to how text is presented on a page or screen

ACELA1433

ACELA1450

ACELA1466

Expressing and developing ideas

Visual language

How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

ACELA1548

Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

Comprehension strategies

Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

ACELY1680

ACELY1692

ACELY1703
ACELY1801

ACELY1722


The Shape of Text to Come | Jon Callow

Assessment ideas for imaginative texts


Visual features to assess /
metalanguage to use


Suggested assessment questions or prompts

Language

Literature

Literacy

Happenings for imaginative texts

Some images show actions or events, some show concepts (or symbolic qualities) and some a mix of both. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

  • describes actions and events and settings, pointing to evidence in the image i.e. points out vectors and actions, names characters and objects, interprets gestures, speech and emotions

  • explains symbolic images (e.g. handshake symbolises friendship

Choose a specific page to focus on during or after the reading.

In this picture, can you tell me what is happening / what actions are taking place? Can you see any clear action lines or vectors? What story do the pictures tell? What story do the words tell? Are they similar or different?

Tell me about the setting where this story is happening. What do the pictures show us about this place?

How are the characters on this page acting? Are they looking at each other or at us? Tell me about them.

Expressing and developing ideas

Visual language

How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

ACELA1548

 

Examining literature

Features of literary texts

The key features of literary texts and how they work to construct a literary work, such as plot, setting, characterisation, mood and theme

ACELT1584 
ACELT1605
ACELT1616

Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

Comprehension strategies

Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

ACELY1680
ACELY1692
ACELY1703
ACELY1801
ACELY1722


Visual features to assess /
metalanguage to use   


Suggested assessment questions or prompts

Language

Literature

Literacy

Interacting and relating for imaginative texts

Choose a page with a character that has a particular shot distance, use of angles and/or use of colour. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

  • shows character whose gaze makes a demand with viewer and explains affect
  • describes shot distance used
    (close, mid, or long shot)  and possible influence on viewer
  • describes particular angle
    (low angle, eye level, high angle) and possible affect on viewer
  • describes colours and justifies related moods or symbolism
  • describes gaze, proximity and angle between participants and the type of relationship it suggests

Can you find a character whose gaze is looking at the viewer, demanding our attention?

On this page, are we very close to the character in the picture, mid-way from them or a long way from them?
(close-up, mid and long shot)

How does this make you feel about the character?

Are we looking at eye-level in this picture? Or are we down low or up high? Tell me how this makes a difference to the way you feel about this character.

I noticed the colours on this page. Why do you think the illustrator chose those particular colours? Do you they make you feel a certain way? Do you think some colours represent or symbolise particular feelings?

Expressing and developing ideas

Visual language

How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

ACELA1548

 

Examining literature

Features of literary texts

The key features of literary texts and how they work to construct a literary work, such as plot, setting, characterisation, mood and theme

ACELT1584 
ACELT1605
ACELT1616

Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

Comprehension strategies

Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

ACELY1680
ACELY1692
ACELY1703
ACELY1801
ACELY1722


Visual features to assess /
metalanguage to use


Suggested assessment questions or prompts

Language

Literature

Literacy

Design and layout for imaginative texts

Choose a page/screen with a variety of elements in the picture to assess design and layout choices. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

  • identifies salient part of image that initially takes their gaze and explains reasons
  • identifies strong lines (vectors) that drew their gaze and points them out.
  • identifies a possible reading path that the eyes might follow on the page
  • identifies how elements are grouped, symmetry or balanced on the page
  • discusses what elements are on the top or bottom, left/right or centre, and why they may be placed there.

    Sometimes a part of a picture will really attract our attention. When you first look at this picture, what part do you look at first? (Have them glance away then look back at the page and think about this.)

    Why do you think you look there?

    Where do you look next? Trace the path your eyes take on the picture with your finger.

    Are there any strong vectors that your eyes followed? Show me (for example, the line along an arm or along the edge of an object, or the suggested gaze of a character)

    Can you see any patterns (lines, curves, shapes) or symmetry across the page?

    Are any important elements placed on the top or the bottom, in the centre? On the left or right? Why might they be there?

    Text structure and organization

    Concepts of print and screen

    The different conventions that apply to how text is presented on a page or screen

    ACELA1433

    ACELA1450

    ACELA1466

    Expressing and developing ideas

    Visual language

    How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

    ACELA1548

     

    Examining literature

    Features of literary texts

    The key features of literary texts and how they work to construct a literary work, such as plot, setting, characterisation, mood and theme


    ACELT1584
     
    ACELT1605

    ACELT1616

    Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

    Comprehension strategies

    Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

    ACELY1680

    ACELY1692

    ACELY1703
    ACELY1801

    ACELY1722


    The Shape of Text to Come | Jon Callow

    Assessment ideas for persuasive texts


    Visual features to assess /
    metalanguage to use


    Suggested assessment questions or prompts

    Language

    Literacy

    Happenings for persuasive texts

    Some persuasive texts show actions or events, while others show concepts (symbolic images or icons, diagrams, etc.) Choose a specific page to focus on during or after the reading. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

    • describes actions and events and settings, pointing to evidence in the image i.e. points out vectors and actions, names characters and objects, interprets gestures, speech and emotions. Explains how these are used for persuasion (for example, ocean with garbage and marine life is about caring for environment)
    • explains symbolic images  that are part of persuasion – for example, dove for peace, hands for friendship, etc.
    • identifies icons, signs, symbols that may be part of persuasive image, for example use of graph and icons to show information about products or issues.

    Discuss the overall purpose of a page/ screen. Point to a specific part of the page/screen:

    Image with actions – What things are happening in this picture? How does it help to persuade us about a topic or product? Tell me what information you can find just in the pictures/just in the written text. When do you have to use both?

    Conceptual Images: What idea or concept does this image show us? (Could be beauty, poverty, wealth, happiness, sadness, etc.)

    Are these ideas clear or do we have to infer/work them out ourselves?

    What things in the image help persuade or give information about this topic? Is it very effective in persuading you or making your believe certain things? Whose point of view is shown here? Is there another point of view that is not shown? Why?

    Expressing and developing ideas

    Visual language

    How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

    ACELA1548

     

    Texts in context

    Texts and the contexts in which they are used

    How texts relate to their contexts and reflect the society and culture in which they were created

    ACELY1645
    ACELY1686
    ACELY1708


    Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

    Comprehension strategies

    Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

    ACELY1680
    ACELY1692
    ACELY1703
    ACELY1801
    ACELY1722

    Analysing and evaluating texts

    Analysis and evaluation of how text structures and language features construct meaning and influence readers/viewers


    Visual features to assess /
    metalanguage to use   


    Suggested assessment questions or prompts

    Language

    Literacy

    Interacting and relating for persuasive texts

    Choose a page with a person or object that has a particular shot distance, use of angles and/or use of colour. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

    • shows participant whose gaze makes a demand with viewer and explains affect

    • describes shot distance used (close, mid, or long shot) and possible influence on viewer
    • describes particular angle
      (low angle, eye level, high angle) and possible affect on viewer
    • describes gaze, proximity and angle between participants and the type of relationship it suggests
    • describes colours and justifies how it supports credibility of image or creates a certain mood

    Think about what the text is trying to persuade us about. Are there people in this image looking directly at the viewer? How does this make us feel about them? (for example, trying to be friendly looking to win us over)

    Are there any close up or mid shots on this page? How might these affect our feeling about the people in the picture? (for example, a close shot makes us feel closer to them, like a friend perhaps)

    Are we looking at eye-level in this picture? Or are we down low or up high? Tell me how this makes a difference to how you feel about a person or object (for example, a person might be made to look powerful so we think they are reliable or strong)

    What types of colours are used? Why? Do the colours help persuade you about the issue. For example, green colours sometimes suggest being good for the environment. Blue colours can be relaxing, red can suggest energy or anger.

    Expressing and developing ideas

    Visual language

    How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

    ACELA1548

     

    Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

    Comprehension strategies

    Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

    ACELY1680
    ACELY1692
    ACELY1703
    ACELY1801
    ACELY1722


    Visual features to assess /
    metalanguage to use


    Suggested assessment questions or prompts

    Language

    Literacy

    Design and layout for per texts

    Choose a page/screen with a variety of elements in the picture to assess design and layout choices. Indicators and metalanguage may include:

    • identifies salient part of image and explains why it attracts attention and may persuade
    •  identifies strong lines (vectors) that drew their gaze and points them out
    • identifies a possible reading path that links to idea or object of persuasion
    • identifies how elements are grouped, symmetry or balanced on the page
    • discusses what elements are on the top or bottom, left/right or centre, and why they may be placed there in terms of persuading viewer to look there

    Sometimes a part of a persuasive text will really attract our attention. When you first look at this text, what part do you look at first? (have them glance away then look back at the page and think about this). Why do you think you look there? (highlights the product or topic perhaps)

    Why do you think the author/ designer might want us to focus on that part first?

    Where do you look next? Trace the path your eyes take on the picture with your finger.

    Are there any strong vectors that your eyes followed? Show me.

    Can you see any patterns (lines, curves, shapes) or symmetry across the page?

    Can you see any patterns (lines, curves, shapes) or symmetry across the page?

    Are any important elements placed on the top or the bottom, in the centre? On the left or right? Why might they be there?

    Text structure and organization

    Concepts of print and screen

    The different conventions that apply to how text is presented on a page or screen

    ACELA1433

    ACELA1450

    ACELA1466

    Expressing and developing ideas

    Visual language

    How images work in texts to communicate meanings, especially in conjunction with other elements such as print and sound

    ACELA1548

     

    Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

    Comprehension strategies

    Strategies of constructing meaning from texts, including literal and inferential meaning

    ACELY1680

    ACELY1692

    ACELY1703
    ACELY1801

    ACELY1722


    The Shape of Text to Come | Jon Callow

    A webliography for references online