Bringing ethnography to a multimodal investigation of
early literacy in a digital age.
Qualitative Research, 11(3),
In this article I reflect on the insights that the well established traditions of ethnography can bring to the more recent analytic tools of multimodality in the investigation of early literacy practices. First, I consider the intersection between ethnography and multimodality, their compatibility and the tensions and ambivalences that arise from their potentially conflicting epistemological framings. Drawing on ESRC-funded case studies of three and four-year-old children’s experiences of literacy with printed and digital media,1 I then illustrate how an ethnographic toolkit that incorporates a social semiotic approach to multimodality can produce richly situated insights into the complexities of early literacy development in a digital age, and can inform socially and culturally sensitive theories of literacy as social practice (Street, 1984, 2008).
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