Sunday, 12 February 2012

Generative Literacy: The Basket

Helen from Miramar Kidz Corner, Wellington, shared this story.
Sam began collecting things. Collecting treasures in his basket that had meaning to him.

The nursery rhymes were of great interest to Sam, so treasures related to the nursery rhymes became part of the basket collection; favourite books, Incy Wincy handmade creatures... anything that reminded him of his favourite books.

The basket belongs to Sam. It must go in a safe place when he goes to sleep and when he leaves for the day.

What is happening here?

The basket is the physical representation of the ownership Sam has for his learning. Sam is building learning links or memory links, associations that will help him remember abstract things like images and text. Text which, at present, are squiggles on the page. He is using other sensory experiences and tactile objects that will prompt his memory. All this happens naturally and happily. All the teacher needs to do is help with the housekeeping and extend the experiences. He will have lots of ideas. He just needs help to grow his collection from these experiences and help to keep his memories and basket safe.

A literacy experience can be finite or infinite. It can happen once as a nursery rhyme is chanted from a poster. Or the experience can be infinite and happen over and over as the same nursery rhyme is read from a poster, book or ebook. But more than this, it can be acted out, props can be added, like the Hickory Dickory clock, allowing further dramatisation. It can be sung and the Hickory Dickory mice can be made and everyone can dance to the rhythm  of the rhyme. Imagination, now too, is aiding memory.

With each action the literacy experience  deepens. The chance of remembering the rhyme and the patterns of the language is greater. The literacy experience has become generative. A foundation has been laid down for future learning and the evolving literacy.

Noeline Anderson,
Director of Pixelhouse
027 472 9193

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