Implementing Vocabutoons in the English Language Arts Classroom: Drawing Their Way to Success


  • William C. Sewell Dakota State University



vocabulary, middle and high school English language arts, art


Although vocabulary acquisition remains a critical to literacy development, teachers infrequently devote classroom time to vocabulary exercises. In this article, the author demonstrates the use of "vocabutoons" as an instructional activity which draws upon students' multiple literacies,in particular, visual literacy,in order to foster vocabulary development. Tooning is based upon the belief that "[p]roficient readers visualize what they read as they construct meaning from a text" (Onofrey & Leikam 682). Representative artwork created by English Education majors enrolled in a young adult literature course at a university in the Midwest will be featured to highlight the tooning process.


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Author Biography

  • William C. Sewell, Dakota State University
    Dr. William Sewell is assistant professor of English Education and Composition at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. Dr. Sewell taught secondary English, forensics, debate, and theatre in Kansas schools for 12 years. His research interests include multimodal intertextuality, content area literacy, active learning strategies, young adult literature, and middle and secondary English education. He can be reached at






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