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Dr Claire McLachlan

Literacy learning from early childhood to primary

A new book co-authored by two Massey researchers explores literacy learning in early childhood settings and primary school classrooms, and offers teaching methods to ensure children have a smooth transition between the two.   

Literacy in early childhood and primary education: Issues, challenges, solutions was released earlier this month.

Massey’s Professor Claire McLachlan and Professor Tom Nicholson, Ruth Feilding-Barsnley from the University of Tasmania, Louise Mercer from Queensland University of Technology and Sarah Ohi from Deakin University co-wrote the book.

Associate Professor McLachlan, from Massey’s College of Education, says the publication is unusual as it focuses on literacy in both early childhood and primary education, and uses real-life classroom examples to bring theory to life.  

“Typically texts on literacy focus on either early childhood or primary. Those in early childhood tend to be quite simplistic and just focus on providing a literacy rich environment, whereas this text also looks at the key predictors of literacy and explains how to support children's fundamental literacy learning in early childhood, drawing on substantial research,” she says.

“These ideas are built on and developed for primary schooling, suggesting sensible methods of ensuring continuity in children's learning.”

The book explains literary acquisition in childhood is influenced by several things: genetic potential, the development of the brain, different approaches to literacy teaching, children’s families and social practices including access and the use of digital technologies.

The book outlines what teachers need to know about literacy development, assessment of literacy and curriculum planning for children from birth to the end of primary school. It also focuses on the key issues and challenges that teachers encounter, providing possible solutions, Dr McLachlan says.

Cambridge University Press published the book, and already universities have expressed strong interest in using it for teacher education and postgraduate courses.

Dr McLachlan also has a second book published with Cambridge University Press this year with the second edition of Early Childhood Curriculum: Planning, assessment and implementation.

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