Being a communicator

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Literacy

A child engages with multiple forms of literacy that build bridges between family and community contexts and new learning.

They:

  • engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts
  • express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
  • explore symbols and patterns in language
  • build confidence and interest in exploring reading and writing behaviours.

Educators focus on the following aspects of children’s learning:

  • interest and enjoyment in engaging with multiple forms of literacy, including music, movement, dance, storytelling, visual arts, media and drama, technologies and digital media
  • pleasure and engagement in viewing, listening to and sharing a range of texts, including the oral traditions and stories shared through Elders and community members
  • confidence to respond with relevant gestures, actions, comments or questions to oral, printed, visual and multimedia texts
  • awareness of key literacy concepts and processes, including the sounds and patterns in speech, stories and rhymes, letter – sound relationships, concepts of print and the ways texts are structured
  • understanding that symbols convey meaning and that ideas, thoughts and concepts can be represented through them
  • awareness that texts can be viewed from a range of different perspectives.

Educators intentionally promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • learn about and build on the literacies children bring from family and community in consultation with Elders and community members
  • read and tell stories, sing and interact with children at every opportunity
  • provide first language translations to stories, songs and rhymes written or spoken in Standard Australian English (SAE)
  • allow ample opportunity for children to select, engage with, share and enjoy quality picture and information books, images and multimedia
  • provoke children’s thinking about the features of books, stories and websites, for example, ‘I wonder what will happen next?’, ‘Let’s turn the page’, ‘The end!’ ‘Let’s google it’ ‘I think we need to scroll down a bit further’
  • draw attention to using print in everyday situations, for example, ‘Let’s write this down so that we can remember’, ‘This says ...’, ‘Look, this is your name!’
  • provide intentional prompts to assist children in recalling stories, for example, ‘Can you remember when ...?’
  • talk about letters and their sounds in emerging situations relevant to children’s experiences and interests
  • scribe children’s spoken words, plans and ideas in first languages and SAE and explain that spoken words can be written down and read later
  • acknowledge and value children’s effort and experimentation in their emerging literacy understandings, for example, ‘What story will we read today?’ ‘This must be your favorite?’ ‘I bet you know what comes next’
  • provide multiple materials that support children’s literacy explorations, for example, books, writing tools and natural and man-made implements, materials, magazines, newspapers, technologies, music, charts, diagrams, maps, plans, recipes and instructions
  • provide special spaces for viewing books and reading quietly together
  • encourage and support families in contributing to their children’s literacy learning
  • support children to document and share their experiences, using drawings, written comments or digital technologies.

Educators look for evidence of children’s learning, for example:

In the familiar contexts of family and community when children:

  • confidently use and understand non-verbal body language
  • read and interpret local symbols of the natural environment, for example, seasonal cycles, stars and constellations, animals and their tracks
  • possess some understanding of the complex relationships in their extended family networks and their own languages and dialects
  • repeat patterns with dots, lines and circles in the dirt using sticks or fingers
  • recognise familiar logos in the community
  • listen attentively to the stories of communities, connections to country, seas, waterways and sky, spiritual beliefs and cultural practices as shared by Elders and community members.

In new and unfamiliar contexts of an early learning program when children:

  • initiate reading experiences by handing a book to familiar adults
  • become aware that their name can be written
  • locate their name or name some letters or sounds from their names with some support
  • interact with texts in a random manner, for example, flip through the pages, point to pictures
  • make personal links to familiar texts, for example, ‘I got dog’
  • make random marks to represent an image or experiment with making marks on paper
  • follow sequences of photographs to complete tasks, for example, washing hands
  • enjoy looking though photo collections to recognise themselves and familiar peers and adults.

In the familiar contexts of a culturally secure early learning program when children:

  • demonstrate pleasure and interest in new and familiar texts and stories
  • display reading-like behaviour, for example, hold a book the right way, turn the pages, pretend to read
  • demonstrate interest in using symbols and approximating writing messages during play and shared experiences, for example, pretend to write emails, letters, notes or signs and contribute to group plans and lists scribed by others
  • recognise and respond to print and symbols within the environment and community, notice their name or point to some familiar letters or words
  • create random shapes and lines when painting or drawing
  • demonstrate an understanding of the difference between writing and drawing.

As you reflect on practices, ask yourself

Is this environment saturated in the print, signs and symbols of children’s first languages and Standard Australian English?

What opportunities do I provide for children to learn through observation, participation and nonverbal communication?

Have I considered children’s full repertoire of verbal and non-verbal literacies, such as dance, music, symbols, custom, information and communication technology, kinships systems, oral traditions and stories, material culture and art?

Do I know about the songs and rhymes that children sing in the context of family and community?

How can families and community contribute to my understanding of children’s literacy learning?

How could I extend children’s literacy learning in the home?