Defining Identities Through Multiliteracies: EL Teens Narrate Their Immigration Experiences as Graphic Stories

Document Type


Publication Date



Based on a framework of identity-as-narrative and multiliteracies, this article describes Graphic Journeys, a multimedia literacy project in which English learners (ELs) in middle school created graphic stories that expressed their families’ immigration experiences. The process involved reading graphic novels, journaling, interviewing, and integrating written text with family photos and other images to produce original graphic stories with computer software. The components of Graphic Journeys supported a multiliteracies pedagogy in that the students engaged with various linguistic modalities and multiple means of communication, including collaborative learning, composing, visual and graphic arts, and technology. The project also provided a powerful forum where the students could express their individual and family identities, explore their cultural heritage, and share their immigration stories with others. Suggestions are provided as to how the components of Graphic Journeys can be extended to EL academic language and writing development.