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Title: The influence of symbolic play on early literacy development
Authors: Sajlia Jalil
Mukhlis Abu Bakar
Keywords: symbolic play
home literacy practices
early literacy development
Issue Date: Nov-2006
Citation: Paper presented at the Asia Pacific Educational Research Association, Hong Kong, 2006.
Abstract: Children’s earliest discoveries about literacy are learned through active engagement with their social and cultural worlds (Bissex, 1980). Play is a social activity that evolves through the internalization of socio-cultural processes and practices, a tool enabling children to learn about literacy through interaction with the environment (Neuman & Roskos, 1997). Symbolic play supports the development of early literacy skills. It is the imaginative function of language: characterized by the use of explicit language to convey meaning, linguistic verbs to clarify and negotiate meaning, as well as the theme of integration and organization of language and stories, required in both symbolic play and literate behaviors of children that results in this (Pelligrini & Galda, 1990, 1993). In this paper, we take a close look at four instances of symbolic play narratives enacted at home by a group of three siblings over a two-year period. Micro-analyses of the play setting (props, play area), physical actions and movements, as well as the pattern of discourse contained within these narratives show a pattern of narrative competence (role appropriate language and story production and comprehension) and appropriation of socio-cultural experiences that Pelligrini (1985) argues is necessary for schooled literacy practices. Hence, it is within this context of purposeful, pressure-free play in familiar environments that children may best display and extend knowledge about literacy and how it may function in their worlds (Fantuzzo, Sutton-Smith, Coolahan, Manz, Canning & Debnam, 1995). We view these play activities as a useful pedagogical tool in the classroom. A dynamic and active classroom context for participation in literacy development offers children real-world opportunities to engage in language and literacy practices. Blending in situated learning with the more formal traditional learning ensures continuity between the rich contexts of home and school literacy practices.
Project number: CRP 19/04 MAB
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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