Att erövra litteracitet. Små barns kommunikativa möten med berättande, bilder, text och tecken i förskolan.
This thesis is based on an ethnographic field study among a group of monolingual children from one and a half to three years old at a pre-school in a Swedish village. The primary aim of the study has been to gain knowledge about how young children conquer and express literacy in their everyday lives. One assumption was that children are active and competent in their search for meaning when dealing with texts, signs and images. A second aim has been to investigate whether children’s literacy could have an impact on the social and cultural context of pre-school. Research questions addressed in the study focus on children’s participation in literacy events and their actions in literacy practice. An additional question was whether children were contributing to literacy practice when interacting with other children in the group. The theoretical framework draws upon socio-cultural theory. The empirical material consists of video recordings and the focus of observation has been on children’s actions related to literacy, expressed as early literacy, including reading and writing as well as telling and retelling narratives, singing and other verbal and non verbal communication. In children’s literacy events and literacy practice the specific context was of central interest. All the material collected has been transcribed and transferred into text and constitutes the basis for analyzing what children are performing in actual events and practices. The guiding principle for description was at first to give a close reproduction of children’s verbal utterances and their acting linked to the concept of early literacy. Secondly, the aim was to describe and analyze whether the utterances and actions could be linked to the specific social and cultural context. The analysed material demonstrates how children participate and interact with each other while engaged in literacy and the material also displays the content of their communication. Two different kinds of literacy appear: one is narrative tellings and the other is reading and drawing/writing. A deeper analysis shows that children are building knowledge of telling and also creating a specific manifesto of literacy. The children also underline what they are doing through verbal expressions where they define themselves as both readers and writers. The result gives a contribution to new knowledge and an understanding of early literacy among very young children as something they have created in pre-school as a social and cultural environment. Literacy in the studied group of children uncovers many more expressions, including several actions with regard to written material, than we usally relate to the youngest children in pre-school.
Doctor of Philosophy
Göteborgs universitet. Utbildningsvetenskapliga fakulteten
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Education
Department of Education ; Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik
Fredagen den 9 januari 2009, kl. 13.15 i Kjell Härnqvistsalen, Pedagogen hus A.
Date of defence
Göteborg Studies in Educational Sciences