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Image-language interaction in text comprehension: Reading reality and national reading tests

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The significance of the image-language interface in comprehending multimodal texts is now well recognised and is reflected prominently in the Australian Curriculum: English (ACE). Large-scale research has shown that different kinds of image-language relations distinguish levels of achievement on state-wide reading comprehension tests undertaken by primary school students in New South Wales and similar results have been found for students' comprehension of online tests. To date, however, comprehension of the image-language interface is inadequately addressed in Australia's National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) and a very restricted conceptualisation of image-language relations is addressed in international tests such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). This chapter discusses the significance of this data and ongoing research into multimodal reading comprehension to enable national and international reading assessments to address the reality of reading experience in the twenty-first century, facilitate curriculum responsive student achievement data, address a key aspect of reading differentiating reading comprehension effectiveness and support new pedagogies of multimodal reading comprehension.




Unsworth, L. (2017). Image-language interaction in text comprehension: Reading reality and national reading tests. In Improving Reading and Reading Engagement in the 21st Century: International Research and Innovation (pp. 99–118). Springer Singapore.

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