CMNetwork E-bulletin: January 2017

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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Modes of graphical communication

By 3 - 4 years of age, young children understand a great deal of the multi-modal features of different textual formats and artefacts. In this example, Tiyanni used a piece of paper that she folded (and tore), and with the symbols she drew/wrote, explained it was a ‘card’ for her mum.


  • Explorations with gestures, words, artefacts, marks, symbols and signs.

  • GRAPHICACY: writing

With similar attention to the mode (the form of communication) in which he engaged, Isaac rolled his plastic ‘map’. On another occasion he used a single sheet of paper for a ‘letter’, and used old diaries as a ‘booking book’ and as entry ‘registers’ when playing with David (see Gallery 7).

In Gallery 8, Elizabeth used a folded piece of card to imitate her brother’s ‘Super Mario’ game and Isaac and David chose a vary large sheet of paper for their joint map. Lacking paper when on a visit to the forest, Shereen made notes and a drawing on her hand (as adults often do)!

Gallery 6 includes an example from James who represented a computer game of an ‘alien battle’ on both sides of a large sheet of paper. Gallery 5 includes Mimi’s graphics on the tarmac surface outside; Maisie used long narrow strips of paper for her tape measure and Finnian used a child-height whiteboard to explain something to the children in his group, as he’d often seen his teacher do.


Latest publications:

Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2016) Pretend Play and the cultural foundations of mathematics. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 24 (1). 51-66.

Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2015) Children’s social literacies: Meaning making and the emergence of graphical signs and texts in pretence. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 16(1), 1-29.

Carruthers, E. (2015). Listening to children's mathematics in school. In B. Perry., A. Gervasoni and A. MacDonald. Eds. Mathematics and Transition to School - International Perspectives. Sydney, Australia: Springer.

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Courses and Conferences: 2016-2017


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