Offering a new way of thinking about literacy, Clare Kelly argues that it is not children’s experiences that count, but rather what they make of them – with support from adults and peers. The book tells the stories of six young children from different cultural backgrounds who all attend the same nursery and are busily engaged in the process of becoming literate. Jamie’s family have lived in the same area for generations, Asif’s recently arrived from Bangladesh, Michelle’s grandparents came to the UK from Jamaica. Each child’s experiences of literacy are unique but all drew on familiar home practices to make a link with the new world of literacy learning offered by the nursery. While some successfully found a pathway through, others struggled.
This book challenges stereotypes by penetrating the private worlds of literacy learning in families, demonstrating children’s agency and creativity in drawing on previous knowledge to make sense of new experiences of literacy, and suggests ways that practitioners can support them. The book offers an accessible framework for identifying the complexity of literacy learning and the invisible influences, and challenges over-simplified views of literacy.
Essential reading for early years practitioners, teachers with responsibility for literacy or diversity and inclusion, students, teacher educators and policy makers in the area of early years and literacy learning.