LITERACY

“Literacy is the capacity, confidence and disposition to use language in all its forms.  Literacy incorporates a range of modes of communication including music, movement, dance, storytelling, visual arts, media and drama as well as talking, listening, viewing, reading and writing. Contemporary texts include electronic and print based media.  In an increasingly technological world the ability to critically analyse texts is a key component of literacy

Young children are exposed to a wide range of texts and literacy experiences both at home and in the community.  There are any forms of literacy that help build children's understanding about the way meaning is communicated that contain visual, auditory and gestural elements or icons and symbols. These many forms are also reflected in children's home literacy practices and have implications for the texts that they engage with in early childhood settings. Literacy is much more than coming to understand written text and the spoken word, but rather is about children's multiple ways of becoming literate.  Becoming literate is a "distinctive journey” for each child that depends on the experiences he/she has; the family interactions and practices that the child is involved with and the literacies embedded in these practices that they witness and participate in. 

This learning journey also in influenced by the broader experiences the child has in communities outside the home.  For example, the experience of shopping includes many literacy practices that the child hears or participates in.  These might include recognising a favourite brand of cereal on the supermarket shelf because of the colours or logos on the box, watching the method of payment and the conversational exchange between the supermarket staff and a parent, etc.  Alternatively, a different child might observe a parent making a list on the fridge of purchases that need to be made or completing an order for shopping online.  Offering rich language and literacy experiences for young children presents many opportunities for helping children "acquire” as well as "learn” literacies as meaningful practices that make use of language for real purposes.  Therefore, becoming literate is a process that requires understanding of the many ways of communicating ideas e.g. pictures, signs, sounds, words, etc.