What Do Young Children Growing Up in English-Using Communities Have to Learn About Writing Practices and How Do They Learn It

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In this essay we will discuss what children growing up in English using communities have to learn about writing practices and how they learn it. Children are involved in the literate world around them long before the commencement of formal schooling (U211, Book 3, p.79). At a very young age, even during the first three years of their life, children interact with their surroundings and learn that written language can be used to accomplish many different things. For example, they can learn that shopping lists can help remember things which need to be bought, recipes can be followed to make their favourite foods, letters can used as tools of communication etc. (Pierce P.L).

Czerniewska explains the concept of emergent literacy, which is a term used to convey a young child’s first discoveries of reading and writing, as a process whereby a child living in a literate community begins to become literate almost from birth via the world of environmental print. The Environmental print is the print of everyday life seen through symbols, numbers, and colours we see in familiar objects like signs for McDonalds, Tesco, Coca-Cola and various other websites etc. They offer an excellent entry point for young children to begin learning to read, write and do math. Environmental print is everywhere and children make concrete connection to it as they ‘read’ it within the context of their everyday life, their interests and background (Sharon MacDonald.com, 2012). In figure 3, when Alexandra is encouraged to write an invitation to a party, she produces pretend signs from the symbols she is familiar with.

Literacy related activities which are familiar to the children in their social context are learnt by them at a very young age. For example, when Issac is asked to do some writing, he draws some squiggly lines and declares it is not writing (figure 1), but in figure 2 he is reminded of a familiar object, a greeting card he had written his name on previously and based on this he...
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