Meet the Catsperts: Engaging in Scaffolded Learning from Multimodal Informational Texts By Ewa McGrail and Gertrude Tinker Sachs
While preparing for a Comic Book Club session in an outreach community center, children, ages 5 to 10, walk in, and we exchange the usual greetings, asking how their day is going and if they are enjoying a sunny early fall day. As Michelle and Strawberry (all children’s names are pseudonyms) chime in with joyful replies, I (Ewa) cannot help but notice that they are both wearing T-shirts with cat designs on them, which prompts my playful comment, “Look, who we have here. Cat fans!” To which, both girls react with a prideful smile, followed by other kids’ rejoinders revealing their fondness for felines as well.
The casual conversation presented above led to the topic idea for our Comic Book Club session: cats and cat behavior. It also provided the opportunity to introduce the young learners to pictorial informational texts and digital media on that subject matter.
In this article, we describe the ways in which we used adult-facilitated conversations and drawing to aid young children’s learning about cats and cat behavior from multimodal informational texts (see Figure 1). We draw insight from our research to demonstrate this instructional process and its effect on our children’s reading and cat knowledge development. We also include our text and media sets for teacher reference.
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