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What is 'graphicacy'?

Graphicacy has been said to be,"Under-valued, under-researched and under-represented in the domain of early childhood education." (Anning, 2023)


     'Graphicacy' has been explained as "the ability to understand and  

present information in the form of sketches, photographs, diagrams, maps, plans, charts, graphics and other non-textual two dimensional formats. The information can be directly representative of what we see

in photographs or  drawings, or more abstract - for example information which is spatial (as in maps, plans and diagrams) or numerical (as in tables or graphs" (Aldrich and Sheppard, 2000, p. 8). To these we add the alphanumerical symbols of writing and mathematics.

    Sagasti Escalona (2019) argues that "Bringing graphicacy into the educational setting can improve students' performance in different areas, for example in math... the interpretation of graphics is vaguely analogous to the process of reading text, while the generation of graphics is the counterpart of writing text" (pp. 1/4). 

    Moreover, focusing on graphicacy in early childhood education can reduce the likelihood of mathematical anxiety, and support children's confidence in mathematics (Sagasti Escalona, 2020).

     As long ago as 2003, Anning asserted that "the status of visual aspects of literacy and graphical forms of representation are under-valued, under-researched and under-represented in the domain of early childhood education ... Within institutional contexts the shaping of meaning making is relentlessly towards school versions of literacy and numeracy. The children's agenda and purposes for their representations are rarely taken seriously" (pp. 5/32). It seems that little has changed. 


Aldrich, F. K., & Sheppard, L., (2000). Graphicacy: the fourth 'R'? Primary Science Review, 64, 8-11.


Anning, A. (2003). Pathways to the graphicacy club: the crossroad of how and school. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 3 (1), 5-35.


Sagasti Escalona, M. (2019). Graphicacy: Another way of thinking and communicating.


Sagasti Escalona, M. (2020). Graphicacy: represent, record and communicate mathematical facts from an early age to avoid mathematical anxiety. Numeros, 105, (1-15).