Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Peggy Albers

Second Advisor

Gary Bingham

Third Advisor

Laura May

Fourth Advisor

Teri Holbrook


This qualitative study examined how children’s play activities and multimodal practices intersected for social purposes. Mediated Discourse Analysis (Scollon, 2001) informed the theory and methodology. Four questions guided the study: 1) In what types of play do preschoolers engage? 2) What strategies do preschoolers use to navigate the social boundaries of playframes? 3) What are the various modes and resources preschoolers use to engage in playframes and how do they use them? 4) What social positionings do preschoolers take on and resist in playframes? Participants included two co-teachers and twelve of the children in their pre-kindergarten classroom. Data was collected over a five-month period using participant observations and field notes. Analysis focused on multimodal discourse that took place during free play time. Four findings emerged from the study: 1) Six types of play emerged across playframes; 2) Children used entry, invitation, sustainment, and protection strategies in their playframes; 3) Children used various modes and resources, including their bodies, props, and alphabetic print, to enact character roles and social roles; and 4) Children moved fluidly within and across insider and outsider social positionings in playframes. This study extends research focused on the social dynamics of young children’s classroom play experiences and argues for an extended conceptualization of multimodal literacy as analyzed in young children’s play.

File Upload Confirmation