"The Mouse is not a Toy": Young Children's Interactions with E-Games

ALEA Australian Literacy Education Association
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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 2008, 31 (3), pp. 242 - 259
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Recent research has drawn attention to the fact that very young children, who may not yet be able to read and write in conventional terms, are engaging with electronic media and digital technologies in the years prior to school (Karchmer, Malette, & Leu, 2003; Marsh, 2005a, 2005b). Gillen and Hall (2003) define literacy as "an all-embracing concept for a range of authorial and responsive practices using a variety of media and modalities"(p. 9). With the new tech nological developments has come an awareness of the prominence of visual images and other non-verbal resources as vehicles for representing and exchanging meanings in electronic texts. Unlike picture books, which have been the focus of research attention for several decades, little is known about the types of electronic texts which young children encounter, how they engage with them, and how this engagement contributes to their emerging literacy development. Early childhood educators are increasingly being called upon to take into account the digital literacy behaviours and understandings as well as the "multiple literacies" which children bring with them when they commence formal schooling (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1996).
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