Understanding the importance of literacy skills in early learning - a crucial role of educators

Understanding the importance of literacy skills in early learning – a crucial role of educators

by Freya Lucas

March 05, 2021

New Zealand early childhood lecturers Chelsea Bracefield and Fiona Woodgate have recently published an article investigating a range of strategies to support educators to foster oral, written and visual literacies, encouraging them to make meaning from contexts and communicate their ideas, and in so doing, create opportunities to promote engagement in a literacy rich environment.


‘Early literacy and the teacher’s role’ was published recently in NZTC’s online ECE journal He Kupu.


“We had noticed that there were many articles and sources of literature that spoke of the importance of providing children with early literacy learning opportunities, but not many that focused specifically on what this may look like within a New Zealand early childhood context,” Ms Woodgate shared.


The pair believe that by describing and narrating in their daily practice, educators can promote literacy development by exposing children to new word associations.


“Research has shown us that children hold a range of knowledge about the world around them. If educators purposefully narrate as children engage in activities, they learn to associate words and names with actions and objects.”


Strategies such as using narration, sounding out letters, drawing attention to pictures and highlighting that they are reading from left to right produce valuable learning opportunities for educators. 


The strategies must coexist, Ms Woodgate said, with a bond between educator and child, building a solid foundation from which literacy learning can take place. 


“Personally, I believe that all learning begins from a foundation of strong relationships and knowing the child – understanding their previous experiences and prior knowledge.


“From this foundation, authentic experiences and learning opportunities can be constructed in collaboration with the child and their family, which support the child’s development of meaning, self-identity and mana.”


To access the article, please see here