`If she's left with books she'll just eat them': Considering inclusive multimodal literacy practices

Flewitt, Rosie; Nind, Melanie and Payler, Jane (2009). `If she's left with books she'll just eat them': Considering inclusive multimodal literacy practices. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 9(2) pp. 211–233.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1468798409105587


This article reports on aspects of a small-scale study conducted in the south of England that explored the learning experiences of three four-year-old children with identified special educational needs, who attended a combination of early education settings – one ‘more special’ and one ‘more inclusive’ (Nind et al., 2007). The article reflects on the concept of inclusive literacy, and proposes that a model of literacy as social practice can provide an enabling framework for understanding how young children with learning difficulties interpret and use a range of shared sign systems. Drawing on an ethnographic, video case study of one girl, Mandy,1 the article gives an overview of her observed literacy experiences at home and in the two educational settings she attended, and then focuses on the collaborative, multimodal nature of the literacy events and practices she encountered. Detailed multimodal analysis of a selected literacy event highlights the salience of embodied action and the shapes of inclusive learning spaces, and points to the importance of valuing individuals’ idiosyncratic and multimodal meaning-making. The article concludes with discussion of how opportunities for literacy learning can be generated effectively in an inclusive learning environment for young children with learning difficulties. The study was funded by Rix, Thompson Rothenberg Foundation (RTR).

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