Representing Reading: An Analysis of Professional Development Book Covers

December 2, 2015


Multimodal ensembles utilize a variety of modes to communicate meaning potential and mediate understandings. Professional development books covers contain visual representations of literacy practices, particularly the practices of reading comprehension and reading instruction. The multimodal representations of literacy practices have the potential to impact how literacy educators view, approach, and carry out the practice of teaching reading.


In this article, we use a social semiotic perspective to analyze 150 professional development book covers intended for classroom teachers. This multilevel, qualitative content analysis examines specific types of literacy practices represented on books and leads to the development of the Multimodal Ensemble Analytical Instrument (MEAI) as a way to guide analysis of representative cover images. Findings are examined in two ways: (1) across four specific literacy practices (reading aloud, independent reading, reading instruction, and reading activities), and (2) within each of the individual literacy practices. Authors conclude with a call for the development of analytical frameworks to examine the types of multimodal texts encountered daily.

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