Goldilocks and the Three Semiotic Bears: Young Children’s Engagement with Early Literacy—A Vygotskian Approach

  • Paul GardnerEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 30)


Premised on the notion of young children as natural semioticians, this chapter explores a case study in which an early educator works with a group of two-and-a-half to three-year-old children as they navigate early literacy development. The approach used fuses Vygotskian thinking with pedagogic processes that have emerged from Reggio Emilia. The educator scaffolds children’s literacy development using story and symbolic representations of characters and objects in the story, before replacing them with alphabetic symbols. The case study challenges the dominant discourse that privileges synthetic phonics as the exclusive method of early reading, currently in vogue in several Anglophile countries. What emerges is a broad multileveled approach to literacy in which children demonstrate agency, engagement and creativity as they acquire letter-sound recognition alongside higher order levels of reading.


Semiotics Synthetic phonics Reggio Emilia Storytelling Multimodality 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia

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