Drawing and Writing. Learning of Graphical Representational Systems in Early Childhood

  • L. TavernaEmail author
  • M. Tremolada
  • F. Sabattini
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1140)


Studies conducted over the past 40 years on emergent literacy have shown that children well before starting formal instruction develop ideas, beliefs and conceptualizations that direct the functioning of writing and other systems of graphic representations like drawings. Researchers have argued that early distinction among representational systems are based on domain specific constraints operating within every knowledge domain. According to this precocious distinction between different notational systems, children perform different actions in case they are asked to write or draw. However, drawing and writing are closely developmentally intertwined, as both perform communicative functions, require cognitive and psychomotor skills and the use of graphic implements. In this sense, overcoming a perspective, even a pedagogical one, that favors writing rather than drawing in the first years of schooling allows to expand the notion of literacy, to remind the importance of building new knowledges (conventionalities in print) starting from the known (mastery of graphical units), and finally to widen text construction combining visual and linguistic literacy.


Emergent literacy Drawing Knowledge domain Representational systems 



The authors greatly appreciate support and facilities received by the Faculty of Education at the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen. This paper is part of the activity carried out with position of RTD of the first author.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationFree University of Bolzano-BozenBrixenItaly
  2. 2.Department of Developmental and Social PsychologyUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly

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