Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

William Blanton

Second Committee Member

Eugene Provenzo

Third Committee Member

Shawn Post

Fourth Committee Member

John Soliday


New literacies in reading research demand for the study of comprehension skills using multiple modalities, through a more complex, multi-platform view of reading. Taking into account the robust roll of technology in our daily lives, research suggests that educators need activities to connect students' lack of reading skills with their growing multimodal literacy. During the post-reading phase of a directed reading activity (DRA), students were engaged in digital storytelling, where they created digital videos and slideshows based on information text read during DRA. Previous studies highlighting the use of digital storytelling have been limited to narrative formats and the influence that participation in this activity has on self-esteem and identity. This activity has been widely recommended for improving writing among teachers and in teaching journals, but it has not been empirically studied in the classroom as a comprehension activity. The theoretical framework that supported this study was Vygotsky's Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). The researcher used the CHAT framework and Burke's Pentad of Analysis (1969) to study the nature of student interactions. Research questions for this study were answered through both quantitative and qualitative methods. The questions being asked by the researcher were: 1.What were the effects of participation in directed reading activity (DRA) modified to include digital storytelling in the post-reading phase of DRA on 6th graders' comprehension of information text? 2. Did the interactions observed during participation in directed reading activity modified to include digital storytelling reflect the principles promoted by Cultural-Historical Activity Theory? Eighty sixth-grade students were randomly assigned to their digital storytelling groups. The subjects participated in whole-class DRA on two information texts, with the treatment group creating digital stories based on the texts. Cloze scores indicated that there was no significant difference in comprehension due to the treatment. However, there was ample evidence to support the claim that participation in digital storytelling instantiates the principles of CHAT. Overall, digital storytelling does show promise as a multimodal instructional activity, and the discussion expands to several implications and recommendations of future research on this instructional activity.


Directed Reading Activity; Literacy; Reading; Education; Multiplatform; Multimodal; Reading Lesson