Let's Go to the Movies
Children's Textual Practices Before and During a Play-Based Classroom Initiative
This paper describes the textual practices of kindergarten children as they co-created and participated in a movie theatre play context within their rural classroom. Data informing this paper were drawn from classroom videos of children (aged 3-5 years) as they engaged in activities associated with the movie theatre, field notes from action research meetings with the classroom teacher and early childhood educator, and the texts created by the children while participating in the initiative. In relation to research questions, we coded and then identified patterns in the children’s text-making activities and corresponding texts. Our analysis found that the children created texts in preparation for and while participating in the play initiative, revealing their emerging knowledge of the alphabetic principle and print genres. Through their creating of textual materials and during their enactment of roles within the play context, the children also demonstrated their understandings about the social functions of different texts. Insights from this analysis build on the literature regarding young children’s early writing development through play, and may encourage educators to co-create dramatic play initiatives with their students to extend literacy learning beyond the acquisition of emergent writing skills.
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