What Is Emergent Literacy?

The research and theoretical developments of the last decade have dramatically altered how we view young children's movement into literacy (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). The term literacy relates to both reading and writing and suggests the simultaneous development and mutually reinforcing effects of these two aspects of communication. Literacy development is seen as emerging from children's oral language development and their initial, often unconventional attempts at reading (usually based on pictures) and writing (at first, scribbling) -- hence the term emergent literacy. Within an emergent literacy framework, children's early unconventional attempts at reading and writing are respected as legitimate beginnings of literacy.


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