Transcultural approaches to literacy, learning, and play

Authored by: Rahat Zaidi

The Routledge International Handbook of Learning with Technology in Early Childhood

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138308169
eBook ISBN: 9781315143040
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter I explore the connection between transculturalism and literacy with specific emphasis on diversifying approaches to reading within the context of early childhood programs in mainstream, ethnically diverse classrooms. The chapter builds a case for a dialogic reading approach using dual language books (DLBs) that correlates well with the demographic shifts occurring within early childhood programs today. The research outlines a method of literacy intervention building on the dialogic approach, incorporating technology, and juxtaposing two languages. Students were given the opportunity to incorporate play in their learning through active interaction with guest readers, books, and the languages being read. The community also played an integral role, whereby parents and other volunteers were invited to read in the classroom. I discuss how a specific literacy intervention came to underscore the transcultural nature of our school system today by providing not only a means to acquire literacy, but also to address some crucial cultural identity questions. The chapter outlines a rationale for using DLBs, the method in which they were employed within the participant group, and a summary of the data using vignettes and examples from the study. It specifically focuses on how DLBs can promote transculturalism and multilingual play in the classroom, as well as foster an appreciation and an understanding of transcultural identities.

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