Aline Frederico

University of Cambridge

Multimodal transcription as a method for understanding the dynamics of children’s meaning-making with digital narratives

The contemporary easiness for recording young children’s meaning-making, often in naturally-occurring contexts, comes with the challenge of making sense of this rich set of data in ways that accordingly capture and represent the dynamism of the multimodal configuration of these processes. Multimodal transcription has emerged as a significant method of analysis of video data, which can assume an important epistemological function in the research process (Bezemer, 2014; Cowan, 2014). Multimodal transcription can generate insights on the role of the individual modes as well as the intermodal relationships that occur in the iterative process of meaning-making (Norris, 2004). The dynamism of literacy and meaning-making was highlighted by Potter and McDougall (2017), so one significant challenge of multimodal transcription is to represent such dynamism and the changes through time of the multimodal configuration of the phenomenon being investigated.

In this presentation, I will show and discuss different forms of multimodal transcription and their role as methodological tools for making sense of video-data of preschool children reading literary apps with a parent. Literary apps are multimodal, interactive narratives for children that present a complex multimodal configuration. Such configuration is dynamic and changes through time, sometimes automatically, but often as controlled by the reader through interaction. Children also dynamically orchestrate their multimodal meaning-making when reading these texts. Multimodal transcription, therefore, was an essential method for knowing the data and knowing through the data and various formats of transcriptions were developed for understanding the flow of meaning that emerges in the relationship between reader and semiotic artefact.


Bezemer, J. (2014). Multimodal transcription: A case study. In S. Norris & C. D. Maier (Eds.), Interactions, Images and Texts: A Reader in Multimodality (pp. 155–170). Boston; Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Cowan, K. (2014). Multimodal transcription of video: examining interaction in Early Years classrooms. Classroom Discourse, 5(1), 6–21.

Norris, S. (2004). Analyzing multimodal interaction: a methodological framework. New York: Routledge.

Potter, J., & McDougall, J. (2017). Digital media, culture and education: theorising third space literacies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.



Aline Frederico (@aline_frederico) is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Education of the University of Cambridge, UK. Her current research investigates the dynamics of meaning in children’s encounters with literary apps, with a special focus on embodiment and agency in digital reading. Aline also has a MA in Children’s Literature from the University of British Columbia, Canada, and studied Communication and Publishing at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She has worked in publishing for over a decade as a book designer, editor and translator of publications for children in print and digital formats. Aline has published journal articles in children’s literature and is currently working on the manuscript for the book Digital reading and embodied meaning-making: Young children’s transactions with literary apps, accepted for publication by Bloomsbury (2019). For further information check