An Understanding of Language and Literacy in Childhood

An Understanding of Language and Literacy in Childhood

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This detailed text provides an understanding of reading and writing through detailed case studies, reflective questioning and further reading; in addition to links with the Early Years Curriculum (EYFS)(DCSF, 2008) provide informative information accessible to both practitioner and parent. As pointed out by the authors, literacy relates to fifty % of the early learning goals, therefore highlights the importance by the practitioner to make the acquisition of literacy exciting and meaningful through a multitude of role play scenarios, stories, rhymes and oral language, thus providing opportunities for the child to put life experiences of literacy into context, while scaffolding existing knowledge.
It is important to point out however that at the time of writing the EYFS (2008) was current. Nevertheless the revised EYFS (EE, 2012) following on from the Tickell report (2011), although separating literacy from communication and language and placing within a specific area, still values the developmental statements as mentioned by Avril and Rankin.
Throughout the chapter the need for a variety of early year’s experiences is highlighted as been crucial when embedding language, therefore creating the foundations for the early acquisition of literacy. The importance of play in which to do this permeates throughout the chapter, as Avril and Rankin describe in detail scenarios through role play and stories within which the child can become immersed, while also promoting mark making/writing for a purpose.
However fine motor control is essential before the child is able to control a pencil to mark make. Avril and Rankin discuss how construction, malleable and drawing activities promote this. Furthermore ‘Write dance’ (Oussoren, 2010) is discussed as an approach which covers all seven areas of learning in the EYFS (EE, 2012) through the promotion of hands on activities to music. These activities allow consolidation of skills by the child in addition to gross and fine motor skills through a variety of mark making tools within an enabling environment; learning songs to promote memory, while also relating to characters within stories.
The importance of characters within stories is also discussed by Needham (2010) when referring to the ‘Story Sack’ initiative by Griffith (1998) acknowledging the importance of creativity when promoting an interest in books. Furthermore Whitebread and Jameson (2005) concur this referring also to the impact of ‘Story Sacks’ to enhance literacy, by allowing the child to engage with the story through a multi sensory experience, which also promotes parent partnership in literacy.

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The important impact parental partnership makes with regards to the developmental learning of the child is highlighted by Avril and Rankin who emphasise the need by the practitioner to listen and value the cultural ways of learning such as repetition used in Islamic Madrassas, therefore impacting on planning for the individual child. Furthermore, Weinburger et al (1990) ‘Early Literacy Development Project’ initiative promotes better understanding with regards to literacy through specific parental workshops, engaging in developmental appropriate activities. Whitehead (2011) concurs this discussing the importance of the practitioner to share information with the parent to help promote better understanding when acknowledging the importance of parental everyday activities to promote early literacy at home.
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