Theorist Les Vygotski (1962) believed that children acquire speaking and listening skills through their social interactions in cultural contexts which they can observe proficient adults modeling and using these skills (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010). In these interactions, the adult ensures that the communication used is developmental appropriate for the child’s age. At age 2 ½ Max has a vocabulary of approximately 150-300 words and can combine words to make short sentences (Kearns, 2008). In addition, Max is multilingual and uses words from the English and Serbian languages. Max is proficient at getting his message across although he is still mastering using spoken language. This is demonstrated when he grabs his Grandma’s hand and leads her to the swing. Max is a good listener and responds to his Grandma’s comment “push” by saying “yes”.Educators can support speaking and listening skills by engaging in discussions with children that are meaningful to them personally (Comber & Reid,2007). For instance, in play situations they can ask the child to explain what they are doing and encourage them to use speech to communicate. When they encounter difficulty the teacher can scaffold the child by saying a word which they may have difficulty finding to use. Everyday routines provide opportunities for children to practice listening skills. The teacher could ask the child to pack up toys, go to the bed for a rest or unpack their lunch.
According to Shagoury (2009) writing formally is preceded by children drawing in which they begin to understand their artwork means something. Max is already developing his fine motor skills as demonstrated in his ability to hold his pencil correctly. This position ensures he controls the lines on his paper. In addition, Max’s sample has been circled by the teacher to show that he has drawn four distinct objects. Max already knows that he is able to communicate meaning through his pictures. Each circle identifies Max’s ‘little monkey’s’.In order to support Max to continue to develop into a proficient writer, educators can write children’s name on artwork. In addition, they can ask the child what their picture is about and on the back write a few words. For instance, on Max’s drawing – Five little monkey’s could be written to show Max that everything we see can be represented using a symbol system. In addition, singing rhyming songs can create enjoying contexts for learning and assist children to hear similarities in words and are ideal for teaching children phonic awareness which is vital for writing in later years (Hill, 2006).
According to Birkmayer, Kennedy & Stonehouse (2008) young children are able to extract meaning from their environment and they do this in different ways. In the picture Max is practicing his early reading skills as he flips through a toy catalogue. As demonstrated in the video through Max’s speech he knows what the pictures represent and is able even able to distinguish ‘girls toys’ by pointing at them and saying “Sarah” who is his cousin. Sharing a variety of stories is an ideal way to children to learn about ‘book language’ (Birkmayer et, al, 2008, p.9). This includes turning the pages from right to left and reading the pictures to convey meaning. Short sessions are ideal for Max’s age group that includes books with good pictures and simple text (Hill, 2006). During these sessions he could be encouraged to make comments, join in saying familiar words and the teacher could point at the words as she says them.
‘ Jane’ is an effective communicator and can use sentences and the correct grammar to convey thoughts. This is demonstrated as she confidently talks about her best friend at kinder. According to the First Steps Speaking and Listening Map of Development Early phase; children can use spoken language in their own way and are becoming aware of how to react in familiar situations (Brace, Brockhoff, Sparkes, Tuckey, 2006).Children benefit by having opportunities to use speaking and listening in a variety of situations. For instance, after the book The Hungry Caterpillar (Carle, 1970) is read children can make then use puppets to retell the story in their own words. Performances such as puppet shows are enjoyable and provide opportunities to become effective speakers and listeners. Giving children assigned roles in the puppet show will encourage them to listen to the speech of others in order to know when they should have their turn (Hill, 2006).
‘Jane’ is beginning to use writing to communicate ideas. This is demonstrated by the sample which contains some identifiable letters as well as some invented spelling (Barratt-Pugh & Rohn, 2000). According to the First Steps Writing Map of Development indicators role play phase; early writers experiment with marks to represent written language (Annandale, Bindon, Handley, Johnson, Locket, Lynch & Rourke (2005). However, in this phase writing is not readible by others with suggests that these writers are yet to develop an understanding about sound-symbol relationships.At the role play phase early writers rely heavily on topic knowledge to generate texts (Annandale et, al, 2005). This could be developed by encouraging children to continue to write for real purposes. For instance, various creative corners could provide opportunities for writing. A shop may have paper and pencils and children can be encouraged to write shopping lists before playing in this corner. In the dolls corner children can create birth certificates for their babies or menu’s for restaurants.
‘Jane’ is demonstrating reading-like behaviours and relies on the pictures in the text and memorization to retell the story (Annandale, Bindon, Handley, Johnson, Locket, Lynch, & Rourke, 2004a). According to the First Steps Reading Reading Map of Development role play phase children can identify and talk about main ideas from the text and often ‘read’ a text differently each time. During this phase children can recognise some letters from the alphabet and can identify their own name by sight. This is demonstrated as ‘Jane’ looks intently at the pictures in the book before ‘reading’ what happens next.An environment saturated in print such as labels to identify objects or alphabet charts can be displayed around the room (Hill, 2006). This provides opportunities for children to match objects and written words. Children can be taken on reading walks around the room and games could be played that match words or phrases to objects. Interactive games such as these allow children to be actively involved in the reading process and teachers can scaffold children’s reading by asking questions such as “What letter does this word start with?” and “Find two objects that start with the same letter”.
A socio-cultural approach to literacy acknowledges the link between human learning and the socio cultural factors that contribute to literacy (Diaz, 2007). As children participate in various activities at home, childcare, school and their communities they are acquiring speaking and listening skills, drawing, writing and/or spelling, reading and viewing capabilities. As a result of these experiences children’s diversity varies considerably in terms of knowledge and skills. The key to assisting children to progress in their literacy capabilities is to build a bridge between their home, community and school settings (Comber & Reid, 2007). According to Vygotski (1962) social interactions that build on what children already know and provide opportunities where children can observe proficient adults modeling language practices and give them the support they need for further development (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010). Early educators must be aware of the developmental characteristics of children as well as pedagogical practices that scaffold and extend children’s literacy development. As demonstrated in the above samples of ‘Max’ and ‘Jane’ teachers must know their students so they can build on what they know and enjoy in order to design learning programs that are based on students interests and needs.
Oliveira melanie 15042631_ede106_powerpoint
EDE106 Language & Multiliteracies
(Birth to 5 years)
By Melanie Oliveira
Literacy is speaking, listening, drawing, writing, spelling, reading
and viewing (Hill, 2012).
Literacy begins at birth and is a developmental process
There are different pathways to literacy
Literacy events are influenced by the social and cultural contexts
in which they occur
Early childhood educators can extend and scaffold children’s
literacy development (Comber & Reid, 2007).
„Max‟s learning story‟
Max is an active 2 ½ year old.
His parents speak English at home but his extended family speak
Greek and Serbian.
Both his parents work full time.
He attends a childcare centre 2 days per week and his Serbian
grandparents care for him 3 days per week.
Max enjoys playing outside in the sandpit, pushing his cars around and
listening to his mother sing songs and read stories.
Speaking & listening
„Max‟ is playing outside then
approaches his grandma who is
sitting on a chair and grabs her
by the hand leading her to the
swings saying “swing”.
Grandma responds by following
Max to the swing and helps him
to get in the seat.
“Push bubba” he says to
Grandma. She responds by
saying “push” and he says “yes
Sample 1 – 9/12/13
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators when
they engage in enjoyable interactions using verbal and
non verbal language (EYLF, 2009, p.40) .
After singing „Five little monkey‟s
sitting on the bed‟ at childcare,
Max is encouraged to go to the
drawing table. When asked
“What are you drawing Max?”,
he responds by saying “five rittle
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators when
they sing and chant songs and use art to express ideas
and create meaning (EYLF, 2009, p.41-42).
Sample 2 – 11/12/13
While at his Grandma‟s house
„Max‟ notices advertising
catalogues on a table and
begins to look through them
turning the pages from left to
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators
when they explore a range of texts and gain
meaning from these texts (EYLF, 2009, p.41)
Sample 3 – 13/12/13
„Jane‟s learning story‟
Jane is 5 years and 2 months old.
Her family speaks English at home.
Jane lives with her mother and 7 year old
She attends a kinder based childcare centre 1 day per week and
a private school readiness program 1 day per week.
Jane enjoys playing with her dolls, dress ups and listening to her
mother read stories.
Speaking and listening
Talking about her best
friend at Kindergarten.
Sample 4 – 18/12/13
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators when they
convey and construct messages with purpose and confidence
(EYLF, 2009, p.40)
Drawing, writing or spelling
At home „Jane‟ practices
her writing and spelling
in a proper book like her
brother uses at school.
It reads „Nicholas‟.
Sample 5 – 10/12/13
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators when they develop
an understanding that symbols are a powerful means of
communication ( EYLF, 2009, p.43)
At home „Jane‟ chooses which
book she wants her mother to
read and pretends to read the
Sample 6 – 12/12/13
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators when
they engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from
these texts (EYLF, 2009, p.39)
What is a socio-cultural
approach to literacy?
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