This book will help early years educators to understand how children learn, in parallel, to write in more than one language. Case studies of six-year-olds growing up bilingual reveal the processes involved in becoming biliterate and show how children s learning is supported in home and community contexts. The research points to approaches to supporting literacy achievement in early years settings.The book draws on the research project called Signs of Difference, conducted by Charmian Kenner at the London Institute of Education from 2000-2002 in collaboration with Gunther Kress, Arabic adviser Hayat Al-Khatib, and Chinese advisers Gwen Kwok, Roy Kam and Kuan-Chun Tsai. Six children were observed learning Chinese, or Arabic, or Spanish as well as English as they engaged in literacy activities at home, community language school and primary school over one year. Parents and teachers were interviewed about children s literacy experiences in each context and their progress in learning. Particular insight into children s thinking was gained by observing peer teaching sessions in which children taught their primary school classmates how to write in Chinese, Arabic or Spanish.With so little research on biliteracy, this book is particularly important. Although teachers are recognising that bilingual experience can be beneficial, they know little about it. So they worry lest children be confused by dealing with more than one writing system, or wonder whether teaching methodologies used at community language school are correct . The research described here shows clearly that young children are flexible learners who can respond to a range of teaching styles and can understand how different writing systems operate and produce symbols in different scripts. It shows how they take the input offered by teachers, parents and siblings and transform it to create their own ideas about how writing works.Becoming Biliterate is for early years educators and teacher educators and will also interest undergraduates and MA students in language and education.
Publisher: Trentham Books