Exploring literacy with infants from a sociocultural perspective.

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Hamer, J.
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The way in which we view literacy impacts on how we view the process of literacy learning as well as how we view infants as literacy learners. If literacy is viewed narrowly as a set of reading and writing skills then the process of literacy learning becomes limited to the acquisition and refining of these skills. From this perspective our view of infants as literacy learners is strictly limited to what the infant is or is not capable of doing. However, when viewed from a sociocultural perspective, literacy becomes a contextually based, broad concept that is grounded in social practice. Literacy learning then becomes much more than acquiring skills but includes developing knowledge, attitudes and understandings about the forms, functions and purposes of literacy. From this perspective, infants can now be seen as active and capable literacy learners as they experience and engage with a wide range of literacy practices in their everyday contexts. This sociocultural approach to literacy also has some important implications for the way literacy for infants is viewed within the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Wh!riki (Ministry of Education, 1996),and how educators can support and facilitate literacy learning with infants within the early childhood education context.
Hamer, J. (2005). Exploring literacy with infants from a sociocultural perspective. New Zealand Journal of Teachers' Work, 2(2), 70-75.