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Book review: Handbook of early childhood literacy

Ellis, Sue and Dombey, Henrietta and Pahl, Kate and Sainsbury, Marian (2006) Book review: Handbook of early childhood literacy. [Review]

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Abstract

Joanne Larson and Shira May Peterson highlight the paucity of research on how talk is used in pre-school settings compared to school settings. They locate the wealth of research studies on talk and discourse in formal learning settings in terms of the different ideological positions adopted. They use two continua; Streets (1995) distinction between ideological and autonomous conceptions of literacy and whether the function of literacy is seen as fixed or fluid to separate the studies into four quadrants, each with a distinctive ideological base. This means that their analysis does not highlight the groundbreaking impact of individual studies, but it does illustrate very effectively how ideological assumptions shape both research design and the resulting recommendations for practice. It also highlights some key research problems: that ideological rigidity means researchers can miss opportunities to build on each others' findings.