Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Literacy Playshop: Playing and Storying with Media

To address the realities of early childhoods, we need to think beyond even our best practice in literacy teaching--our  familiar reading and writing workshops--and envision a play-enriched and technology-inspired literacy curricula that makes sense for today’s video-saturated world. In other words, we need expand reading and writing workshops into vibrant and creative classroom studios that I'm calling “literacy “playshops” with media-rich literacy curricula where children produce storyboards, live action plays, and digital films. I documented how literacy playshops bridge literacy, children’s peer culture, and popular media when I spent a year and a half in one kindergarten conducting research for my book, Playing Their Way into Literacies.

Now in a forthcoming book with four graduate students, we have documented how six preschool and K-1 teachers studied, planned, and taught in Literacy Playshop. The teachers supported children’s video explorations and collaborative film projects as we researched in their classrooms to understand how children  produce new kinds of literacies as they make texts together during play and media production. The shift was dramatic. In play spaces where film can now capture the otherwise temporary play scenarios, children created stories on their terms using the materials and narratives that they know best.

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