Multimodal composing is part of the Common Core vision of the twenty-first-century student. Two descriptive studies were conducted of fifth-grade students’ digital folktale retellings. Study 1 analyzed 83 retellings in relation to the types and frequencies of modal use, such as image, sound, movement, and written text, as well as their retelling accuracy. Students composed within a scaffolded digital composing environment which comprised the PowerPoint authoring/presentation tool and a researcher-developed story frame. All students’ retellings included writing and visual design, 80% included animation, and 70% included sound. Retelling accuracy scores averaged 54%. Study 2 was conducted with a new group of 14 fifth-grade students who had previous digital retelling experience. The retellings included the same types of modal use, but at a higher level of frequency. In their retrospective design interviews, students expressed design intentionality and a metamodal awareness of how modes work together to create an appealing story.
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