Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Sarah Vander Zanden


Storytelling in education--Middle West; Literacy--Study and teaching (Middle school)--Middle West;


This paper explores how multimodal storytelling can be used to enable middle school ELL students to see their knowledge of literacy as valuable. It looks at how multiple modes of representation offer middle school ELL students additional means of expressing their ideas. Multimodal storytelling is where a story is told through multiple modalities, such as text, voice narration, captions, images such as photographs or drawings, and music. It can be used as a way to value different ways of knowing and all students’ backgrounds and experiences. This qualitative study was conducted after school with six, female middle school ELL students at a private religious elementary school in their neighborhood. Students met for eight weeks on Tuesdays after school for about an hour. The week after the final session, there was a final celebration where students shared their stories. This paper focuses on one student or a single case, Kye Meh. From analyzing interactions with Kye Meh, creating multimodal stories provided her with a context to display self-agency as a communicator, cultural broker, and leader. These categories were confirmed with multiple data sources from multiple sessions and types. Key implications include, students need to be provided with opportunities to share about their lives and this needs to be viewed as true research that contributes to the community. Educators need to provide students with opportunities to use their home language and support students in seeing the value of their home language and other ways of communicating with different modes.

Year of Submission


University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (69 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download