LITERACIES AND MULTILITERACIES IN
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHING
EAB510 Assignment 2. Part 4
Literacy is more than just reading and writing and it takes place in many different
contexts and in many different ways. Literacy is a social practice that involves a
wide variety of texts used for a wide variety of purposes and in a great range of
Society is continually undergoing changes.
In the past decades the globalisation of
communications and technological
advances, have impacted the way in which
we make meaning.
Literacy has become multimodal.
When we talk about multimodal we
are talking about a number of modes
to make meaning such as linguistic,
visual, spatial, gestural and audio
modes. Children experience
multimodal literacy practices in their
homes, communities and popular
culture every day.
“Literacy is changing and young children are
increasingly exposed to communication tools
and situations that are multimodal rather than
exclusively linguistic.” (Hill & Nichols 2006)
Hassett (2006) calls for early literacy
instruction to move forward into graphics,
imagery and interactive forms of
As teachers we are faced with the challenge of broadening our
understandings about literacy and literacy teaching in early childhood and
primary settings in order to recognise and incorporate all of the modes of
So, how do we approach the challenge of
literacy teaching in an ever-changing
technologically advanced society?
In order to enrich and extend the
possibilities for literacy teaching,
children’s home and community literacy
practices must be linked with school
How do we go about doing this?
It’s as simple as building genuine
partnerships with families and
relationships with children by listening,
observing and recording our findings. If we
design meaningful learning experiences
that reflect their daily practices, children
are more likely to succeed in literacy as
they feel they can transfer their classroom
learning to real life.
Aim of the ACE
Ensure that students learn to listen to,
read, view, speak, write, create and
reflect on increasingly complex and
sophisticated spoken, written and
multimodal texts across a growing range
of contexts with accuracy, fluency and
If we take a close look at the following example of a digital story produced by a
Year 2 student in from Glenferrie Primary School in Victoria we can see what
children in early childhood are capable of producing if they are carefully
instructed. This child has scripted, storyboarded, created her own artwork and
produced her digital story using Photo Story 3 software.
One of the year 2 English Contents in the
Australian Curriculum is to ‘create short
imaginative, informative and persuasive texts using
growing knowledge of text structures and language
features for familiar and some less familiar
audiences, selecting print and multimodal elements
appropriate to the audience and purpose.’
This is a perfect example that reflects this content.
This piece of work also demonstrates one of the
year 2 literacy indicators in text knowledge which
says that in year 2, children plan, rehearse and
deliver spoken presentations specific to learning
areas by: adding supporting details, using notes
based on a modelled structure and incorporating
visual and multimodal features.
As a teacher, I believe the development of language
and literacy skills in early childhood is of vital
importance as it is strongly related to later academic
success. If we want our students to be successful we
must help students master the literacies necessary
for lifelong learning and the only way to do this is by
adapting our literacy instruction to the social, cultural
and technological changes that are continually taking
place in society. And by working hand by hand with
our students families and communities.
Fellowes, Janet and Oakley, Grace, (2010). Chapter 22 : Children's
Literature pp. 471-487; Chapter 23 : Visual and Critical Literacy pp. 488-
508. In Fellowes, Janet and Oakley, Grace, Language, Literacy and early
childhood education, (p.471). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University
Makin, L., & Jones Diaz, C. (Eds). (2006). Literacies in early childhood:
Changing views challenging practice (2nd ed.). Sydney: McLennan &