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Multimodal and Digital Texts





Identify at least three examples of multimodal elements in "Brave"

Success Criteria

To explore how multimodal and digital texts influence storytelling and deepen understanding in the graphic novel "Brave".

Learning Intention

I will be able to recogize the ways text and images work together in "Brave" to create a multimodal narrative.

Language Objective

What will our lesson look like?

Do Now

In the chat, describe a graphic novel you have read or are familiar with. What did you like about it? What stood out to you in terms of the combination of text and images?

A text isn’t always just words on a page. A multimodal text is a text that uses two or more modes to present information or create meaning. A mode is a way of communicating ideas or information. For example, written language, spoken language, music, images, and gestures are different kinds of modes. When a text combines written language and images, as a comic book does, it’s considered multimodal.A comic book is a type of print text, but multimodal texts can also be digital. A digital text uses computer technology. For example, a podcast is a digital text that often combines music and spoken language to create a story. *Watch Concept Definition video


multimodal text



a text that uses two or more modes to present information or create meaning

a way of communicating ideas, concepts, or information including written language, spoken language, images, music, and gestures

the space between panels which indicates a sequence of time

digital text

a text that is presented and accessed using computer technology




speech bubble

the speech that the narrator speaks directly to the reader. Voiceovers are set off to show that the narrator is speaking. Voiceovers may appear at the top or bottom of a page or in a separate colored frame

a type of panel, usually covering a full page, that aims to capture the reader's attention and establish the setting and mood

frames around character dialogue that show two or more characters having a conversation or a character thinking or talking to himself


the box-like unit that illustrates a single scene in a graphic story


In order to identify characteristics of multimodal and digital text, note a text’s use of different modes to communicate information.

  • words, captions, sentences, paragraphs
  • spoken or recorded words
  • film, illustrations, graphics
  • sound effects or music
  • body movement, sign language

Identification and Application:

Here is some basic vocabulary to help you identify and analyze characteristics of a graphic novel, a type of multimodal text.

To analyze characteristics of a graphic novel, note your responses to one or more of the following questions:

  • What does the layout of the panels show you?
  • How do the panels use perspective to convey an idea? (Does it seem like you are inside the story, watching what’s happening from a character’s point of view? Does it seem like you are outside of the story, watching everything happen as an observer?)
  • How do the panels and gutters show the movement of time?
  • How do illustrations and voiceovers work together to tell the story?
  • What is the difference between what a panel shows and what a splash shows?
  • What does the use of color suggest about the mood?
  • Where are characters placed in the panels? How does their placement contribute to the meaning of the story?
  • How does the graphic novel’s images and text work together to convey or enhance the meaning of the text?

In Brave, a graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova, Jensen dreams of saving the world but finds that his dream often conflicts with the reality of the challenges he faces in middle school. Noting how the features of a graphic novel work together will help you understand plot, setting, characters, and the meaning of the story.Let’s look at how one reader analyzes graphic novel characteristics at the beginning of the story:


This full-page panel must be a splash. It shows a school setting. The framed text could be a voiceover or speech bubbles of a character telling readers his name, the school name, and his goal. His smile creates a happy mood.

The reader notes the kind of panel that establishes the setting. She identifies the text frames as either a voiceover or speech bubbles because they reveal the main character’s thoughts directed at the reader. The main character, Jensen Graham, is introducing himself and telling more about the setting. The reader determines the mood by noting the main character’s expression. She continues reading Brave and analyzes additional characteristics of a graphic novel that help to tell the story.


The big bubble shows Jensen's daydream. But the little speech bubbles at the bottom of this illustration show that someone is calling him. In the next panel, Jensen's name is in capital letters with two exclamation points in a jagged bubble. It indicates that Jensen's daydreaming has been interrupted.

The reader analyzes this part of the story by noting that the big thought bubble shows Jensen daydreaming while someone who is not pictured is calling his name in the two smaller speech bubbles at the bottom of the illustration. The reader assumes that the teacher yelling his name is what jerks him out of the daydream because of the shape of the speech bubble in the next panel and the text format. The last panel confirms the reader’s assumption.