Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Article Summary: ECE Literacy New Pathways

Makin, L & Jones Diaz, C (2002) , New pathways for literacy in ECE, in L Makin & C Jones (eds), Literacies in early childhood: changing views, challenging practice, Maclennon & Petty Pty Limited, Eastgardens, pp.325-35.

The article states that two important changes in society need to influence literacy education are:

* Globalization of communications and competitive labour markets has an impact on linguistic diversity.
* Growth of technology which changes the way people can make meaning and literacy is becoming increasingly multi-modal. Increasing globalization is a factor to why bilingual education may be essential in the long term, both to survive culturally, and for people to remain competitive in the international business world.

Funding from government bodies act as:

o as a method of encouraging compliance
o linked to performance
o linked to program alignment with government directions.

Funding cuts has meant that early childhood services now find themselves under more pressure to prepare children for school literacy (book and print based) and move from child centred orientation. These skills largely ignore techno-literacy, authentic assessment and languages other than English.

* Narratives of popular culture offer a “way into” literacy, such as children who use drawing and model making, rather than words, and that if these activities are regarded primarily as design rather than as communication, then children’s literacy will be undervalued.

* Finally popular culture provide children with a lingua france through which they share other meanings about their worlds.

* A rejection by educators of popular culture merely locks out the potential exchange of ‘cultural’ and ‘social capital’ and connection to literacy beyond that which is provided at the setting.

I believe that popular culture provides many good sources and ideas in developing children’s literacy skills to think critically as well as broadly. Yet, this too entirely depends on the context of which the class the children are situated at.

The teacher in class may have many ideas in wanting to link and bring popular culture into the classroom, but if the context (school and parents) feel that it is not relevant to what they want for both the centre and the parents, the work is fruitless unless the teacher is able to advocate for what s/he wants.
Linning, L (1999), “Children’s literature: resources for literacy development ‘, in R Campbell & D Green (eds) Literacies and learners : current perspectives, Prentice Hall Australia, French Forest NSW, pp.105-10.

The article discusses the role and value of children’s literature in the literacy program, whereby it can assist in the development of literary appreciation. Printed texts in different forms can introduce children to the recurrent structures, conventions and allusions in English literature which attune to their experience, knowledge and stages of reading development.

The different modes of responding to literature vary according to the purposes and natures of the texts. They range from

* Enjoyment of language & story, understanding that print is meaningful.
* Learning to decode- beginning independent reading and practicing skills.
* Losing oneself in books-where readers read their favourite popular series and develop fluency and confidence.
* Finding oneself in books-where readers recognize characters and settings which relate to their own lives.
* Making ethical applications (Personal & social), where books stimulate readers to think about other times, places, cultures, ideas & personal circumstances, in a light hearted but perceptive way accessible to young readers.
* Wide reading- which gives readers a context for approaching and responding to texts new to them and developing their inter-textuality skills.
* Aesthetic response- where readers notice how authors use language effectively and enjoy literary criticism.

I would agree that readers respond to books in a variety of ways. Ways which are relevant to themselves in different contexts and situations. Coming from a context where bilingualism is the norm, yet fluency of mastery of a few languages is barely achievable, I believe that I would not have been able to attain the standard of fluency in English were it not my interest as a young child in reading books such as those by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl or Lucy Maud Montgomery.
These books enabled me to lose myself in the stories, as well as finding characters similar to my situation, and at the same time develop the vocabulary to express my intents and wants in ways I would not have been able to deem possible.

1 comment:

kinder/caring said...

I really worry about the push for early literacy mastery in early years environments/kindergarten. Educators need to empower children with a variety of skills and I worry that the emphasis on language outweights other areas of life and culture.


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