Readers building fictional worlds: visual representations, poetry, and cognition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the complex nature of the literature classroom by drawing on the cognitive linguistic framework Text World Theory to examine the teacher’s role as facilitator and mediator of reading. Specifically, the article looks at how one teacher used visual representations as a way of allowing students to engage in a more personal and less teacher-driven transaction with a poem, and to encourage them to reflect on their own roles as active makers of meaning and knowledge in the classroom. The article shows how teachers can be mindful of the various contextual factors that can privilege and legitimise certain kinds of response in the classroom and be wary of external factors and pressures that can promote the idea of preconceived knowledge. The teacher in the case study presented was able to both facilitate the experience of reading poetry in an unmediated way and also develop her students’ metacognition in relation to the reading process itself. The article shows how Text World Theory’s status as a socio-cognitive grammar may be of benefit to teachers in understanding the nature of communicative interaction and literary transaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26–35
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Early online date16 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Giovanelli, M. (2017). Readers building fictional worlds: visual representations, poetry, and cognition. Literacy, 51(1), 26–35, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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