After reading the articles this week and with consideration to the notion that literacy involves symbols of all types, expression, listening, and understanding; please think about and share 2-3 practical ideas that you could use in an early learning setting to support the multiple dimensions of young children’s literacy.
Readings: Please find attached pdf
Â· Chafel, J. A., Flint, A. S., Hammel, J., & Pomeroy, K. H. (2007). Young children, social issues, and critical literacy stories of teachers and researchers.Â YC Young Children, 62(1), 73-81. (Library Course Reserves)
Â· Flewit, R., Messer D. & Kucirkova, N. (2014). New directions for early literacy in a digital age: The iPad.Â Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 15(3), 289-310.Â Â https://doi.org/10.1177/1468798414533560Â (Library Course Reserves)
Â· Starting this week we will begin exploring the question,Â Â What should be the content of the early childhood curriculum?Â This is of course a contentious and complex question. Responses to this question are inextricably related to socio-cultural and socio-political contexts, and they become more complicated as our society becomes more diverse and technologically advanced.
Â· Even when the curriculum is mandated by the local government, there is always space for interpretation by the educator, not only an interpretation of the content of learning, but also an interpretation of how children are situated in relation to the required knowledge, e.g., What are the children’s past experiences? What are the language practices in the children’s home communities? and, Are children “consumers” of knowledge, or are they “producers” and even “transformers” of cultural knowledge (for example, when children use materials in a creative and unexpected way)?
Â· In this module, we will explore language and literacy in the ECE curriculum as it relates to culture, technology, and identity. Language and literacy are anÂ integral part of every aspect of the curriculum. As such, they deserve special attention and thoughtfulÂ application.
Â·Â Literacy-Rich EnvironmentsÂ
Â· A great deal of literature emphasizes the importance of creating a literacy-rich environment for young children. A literacy-rich environment refers to the opportunities that are available for children to engage in literacy related experiences. This might include: interaction with books, exposure to meaningful print (i.e., name tags), access to computers, cameras, smart board, painting, writing, and drawing materials.Â It is important to note that resources themselves have potential for knowledge construction, yet literacy knowledge is formed through the mediating processes that accompany the resource. Educators are a significant resource when it comes to learning about the convention of literacy. Educators can also support children’s learning about the possibilities and power of language and literacy. One example of how educators can engage children in realizing the importance of language and literacy as a tool for change is described in the article by Chafel et al. (2007). You are asked to read this article as one of this week’s readings.
Â· The article,Â Â The essentials of early literacy instruction,Â by Roskos et. al. (Course Reserves) is an excellent summary of creating a literacy-rich environment.
Â·Â Language, Culture and Identity
Â· “It is culture that shapes human life and the human mind, which gives meaning to action by situating its underlying intention in an interpretive system. It does this by imposing the patterns inherent in the culture’s symbolic systems – its language” (Bruner, 1990).
Â· The ability to make one thing stand for another, orÂ the ability to represent reality symbolically, as in the process of language acquisition, is a significant intellectual, cultural, and social achievement of young children. By the end of the first year of life young children begin to understand that pictures, gestures, and words, can stand for an object or event and that language is a tool for communicating one’s thoughts and ideas.
Â· Authentic literacy experiences are often embedded in the daily lives of children at home and at school. These involve opportunities to discuss events, ask questions, express one’s ideas, and listen and respond to others’ ideas. Literacy, then, is an inseparable part of children’s social world.
Â· To think of literacy as social practice that is entangled with one’s cultural contexts and emerging sense of identity means that teachers approach literacy as a process that engages with children as social agents who are actively involved in the making of their own world.
Â· As the study by Flewitt et al. (2014), that you are asked to read this week, discusses, current sociocultural approaches to language and literacy investigate children’s literacy practices as it is embedded in the social world of interactions with people and with the world, as well as in the way that language and literacy is mediated through cultural tools and artifacts (i.e., computers). Early literacy scholars urge us to think about literacy as a social process that is larger than processes of decoding and encoding printed text in a pencil-paper activity.
Â· Children’s ability and interest to represent and construct their world through symbolic languages is apparent in their play, their emerging drawing skills, and in other forms of expression. As children talk, draw, sing, move, measure, sort, count, read, and write, they experiment and use abstract representations (languages) to create new relations between their thinking and the world around them. The early childhood classroom can become a place where children are encouraged to communicate and negotiate their ideas, knowledge, and meaning-making processes through multimodal modes of expression – as they say in Reggio Emilia – children express their thoughts and ideas through 100 languages. The early literacy scholar Anne Hass Dyson (2010) argues that while it is important that children learn foundational letter and sounds skills, it is children’s engagement in complex communicative situations that energizes their literacy learning.
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