ABSTRACT

The teaching of reading in English language learning settings, and in the context of education more generally, is influenced by the purposes for reading and by the changing nature of texts brought about by the impact of digital technologies on reading practices. Digital technologies have transformed the way in which texts are produced, distributed, and consumed (Kress, 2005, 2010). Contemporary reading materials in both print and digital formats include a complex interplay of written text, images, and design elements. Such texts can be described as multimodal: they combine different sets of semiotic resources for making meaning, such as language, image, and spatial patterns, and communicate these meanings through multiple sensory modes and media (Jewitt, 2005, 2008; Kress, 2003; Lemke, 2006). For example, online news websites often include written articles accompanied by images, video, infographics, and interactive elements to engage and communicate information to readers; business reports may use graphics to summarise complex data or to highlight significant findings; and language learning materials frequently include images and audio to support the comprehension of written text to make meaning more accessible to learners. Images have the potential to convey powerful cultural messages, as they do in media texts and advertising campaigns. Digital texts readily combine sound effects and music with animated images to engage readers and often include interactive elements as well, bringing an element of joint construction to reading and viewing activities.