Drawing Conclusions: The Role of Children's Drawings in the Writing Process

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This paper reports upon the practical outcomes of recent research into the ways in which children’s drawings can successfully support their writing in the non-narrative genres of explanations and procedures. A systemic functional linguistics framework (Halliday,1985) was used to analyse children’s writing and their accompanying drawings and thus map the interrelationship between the two. The children’s drawings showed clear intentionality with a social communicative purpose rather than simply personal self-expressive motives which are often attributed to children’s drawings. The analysis of the drawings reveals a catalogue of genre-specific visual tools which, it is hypothesised, have parallels in genre writing and thus are directly supportive of the writing. In this paper the children’s drawings and writing are shared with the audience to illustrate the relationship between the visual and verbal tools, and simple teaching strategies are recommended to capitalise on this intertextuality. By encouraging this kind of synaesthesia (Kress, 1997) we are able to move closer to the development of genuine multimodal pedagogies rather than simply teaching through multiple modes.


Halliday, M. and Hasan (1985). Language, Context and Text: Aspects of Language in a Social-Semiotic Perspective. Geelong, Victoria, Deakin Uni Press.

Kress, G. (1997). Before Writing: rethinking the paths to literacy. London, Routledge.


Keywords: Literacy, Mulitmodality, Writing, Drawing, Genre, Systemic Functional Linguistics
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Misty Adoniou

Lecturer Language, TESL
Faculty of Education, University of Canberra

Canberra, ACT, Australia

Misty Adoniou lectures in Literacy and TESL at the University of Canberra in Australia. Currently the President of the Australian Council of TESOL Associations, she is also a past Chairperson of TESOL Greece. She is co-author of ‘Genre and Register in Multiliteracies’ a chapter in the 2008 Blackwell ‘Handbook of Educational Linguistics’ edited by Spolsky and Hult.

Ref: L09P0823