Illuminated Texts

"There is no Frigate like a Book / To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry."    Emily Dickinson  

Some Questions and Answers

For the Page with Illuminated Texts Tutorials - Click Here!


An Illuminated Text is a video (usually accompanied by music) that takes a text (a poem, a prose excerpt, or even an entire short story or novel) and creates a new and different media that explicates that text through the video (the colors, movement, etc) and the music.


As with using performance in the classroom, an Illuminated Text, when done well, does not supercede the work that it is Illuminating - but instead, explains, furthers, or explores it through the point of view of the Illuminator(s).  Actually, there is a two-fold affect.  The first has to do with what is learned by the creators - and next, and in a completely different (albeit more passive) way - those students (and anyone else) who view that Illuminated Text.


Yes.  But like most of the things, ideas, methods covered on this website - that is, I guess, part of the point.  The things worth doing are almost always going to be difficult - and that's maybe why they stick - and why they become important.  I once had a fellow teacher come up to me and tell me (I think they thought they were flattering me) that they wanted to teach the way that I did - except, "without all of the work."  I never did find out what they meant by "work".  The amount of teaching work?  The work done by the student?  It doesn't matter really.  I believe that good teaching AND good learning takes work, effort, and engagement.  

I must also note that students really seemed to enjoy creating these - and would often spend hours and hours doing them - in a way that they struggled doing the other work (reading, writing traditional essays, etc.)

Some Handouts 

Go to the Illuminated Text Tutorial Center for Handouts on HOW to create Illuminated Texts

Some Notable Examples


Cat in the Rain (the one that started it all) Jenny Lee

House - A House on Mango Street Illuminated Text by Norberto Rivera and Dan Chan.mp4

The House on Mango Street - Norberto Rivera & Dan Chan