International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 8 Number 8

August 2, 2007

Graphic-Narrative Play:
Young Children's Authoring through Drawing and Telling

Susan Wright
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Citation: Wright, S. (2007). Graphic-narrative play: Young children's authoring through drawing and telling. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 8(8). Retrieved [date] from

This arts-based research illustrates how young children engage in 'graphic-narrative play' - a personal fantasy-based experience depicted on paper - while representing imaginary worlds centered on the topic, what the future will be like. The descriptions show how the children not only made representations, but also manipulated these in abstract ways as they created and recreated images, ideas and feelings. The findings illustrate how the child becomes a cast of one, taking on multiple roles (i.e., artist, author, director, scripter, performer and narrator) and selecting when and how to play with all the available voices offered through the multimodal media - drawing, 'telling', dramatization, expressive sound effects, gesture and movement. These multiple texts involved embodied authoring - layers of visual and physical action, character development, plot scheme, scenery and running narrative working in harmony, simultaneously. Children's open-ended construction of meaning surfaced content that reflected universal story themes such as good-evil and capturing-defending, and their voices often were powerful, humorous, philosophical and reflective. Yet the sequencing of events did not necessarily follow linear structures - instead, the children worked within fluid structures.

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