Unlocking Multiliteracy: The Vital Role of Early Childhood Teachers in Language and Literacy Development

Dear, Parents

We are thrilled to draw your attention to the critical role that early childhood educators play in supporting your children’s language development, emergent literacy, and multiliteracy abilities, all while establishing a rich multiliteracy environment through a play-based methodology. The definition of literacy in the twenty-first century has changed. While reading, speaking, writing, and listening used to be the only components of literacy, today’s definition now includes other crucial abilities like playing computer games, viewing movies, and interacting via screens. The possibilities for children are endless when they learn basic reading skills in their early years. The formative years of a child’s life are particularly important for the development of core reading abilities, according to Saracho (2017, p. 299).

The language and literacy abilities developed during this phase create the groundwork for a child’s future language and literacy ability. Parents and other family members greatly aid children’s early reading and language development. The best time to acquire language and literacy skills is in the early years of life (Saracho, 2017, p. 301). Despite this, more and more parents are deciding to enrol their kids in kindergarten and other early learning settings. According to research, these learning spaces offer children rich language experiences that greatly influence their language development. Evidence shows that the quality of their early schooling influences children’s language and literacy development. As a result, at this point, it is crucial to customise instructional strategies and learning opportunities to promote educational and linguistic development goals.

Early childhood educators need to understand how connections and interactions play a role in the context and importance of language and educational development. When given the opportunity, children have a remarkable potential for learning and mastering communication (Fellowes and Oakley, 2014). Their life experiences directly impact how well they can learn reading and communication skills. Early childhood educators (ECTs) have an even more important function due to the crucial role that educational institutions like schools and daycare centres play in acquiring language and knowledge. While acknowledging the importance of their role in promoting language and literacy development, ECTs must encourage play and connection among children.

The contribution of multiliteracies to the language and literacy development of children

Early childhood educators should acknowledge the importance of multiliteracies in encouraging children’s language and literacy development. Various tools, such as books, plays, and cutting-edge technology, are included in multiliteracies in the context of children’s language and literacy acquisition (Hill, 2007, 60). Early childhood educators should equip kids with contemporary technology to help them adapt to the modern environment and make the most of multimedia to encourage meaningful collaboration and communication (Wohlwend, 2011, p. 3).

Additionally, early childhood educators must use a play-based strategy to advance reading. Play is an important strategy for improving language and literacy development because it enables kids to integrate their ideas and experiences while polishing their communication abilities, as Wohlwend (2011, p. 3) points out. As they participate in communication, pronunciation, identification, and other activities that simultaneously influence their comprehension of real-world events, children have great possibilities for linguistic and cognitive practice in the play (Wohlwend, 2011, p. 3). Additionally, in keeping with the results of Edwards, Gandini, and Forman (2011, p. 28), the use of visual media and a variety of visual languages has a significant role in influencing how a kid understands events, supporting language and literacy development. This viewpoint is consistent with Beltchenko’s (2016) assertion that picture books can help children’s cognitive exploration. By graphically conveying a tale, the interaction of words and pictures in picture books aids youngsters in building knowledge and improves their comprehension of text (Beltchenko, 2016, p. 145).

Encouraging literacy development

For infants, engaging in conversations is important as they require interaction and communication for their social development. When conversing with babies:

  • Maintain face-to-face contact to establish a connection.
  • Take turns in speaking, allowing the baby time to respond.
  • Pay attention to cues from the baby; if they show interest in something by looking or pointing, use that as a topic.
  • Replicate and emphasise the baby’s sounds, alongside using regular conversation.
  • Avoid using “baby talk” and instead speak naturally to them.

For toddlers and preschoolers:

  • Pause frequently in conversations, allowing children to participate and learn turn-taking actively.
  • Acknowledge and respond to most of the child’s sounds and words, confirming your understanding. Don’t dismiss their attempts to engage with you.
  • Mimic and repeat what the child says to encourage their language development.
  • Offer commentary on their actions and experiences.
  • Use words to label familiar and new objects, situations, or emotions.
  • Pose open-ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no response, promoting communication development.

Encouraging literacy development

The skills of speaking, listening, understanding, observing, and drawing are among the core components of literacy, which are essentially being built while a kid learns to read and write.

  • In order to promote children’s literacy development, educators might include kids in various activities in the following ways: Investigating images and objects and showing examples of how to describe things using words.
  • Investigating words and letters provides students with information about the names, sounds, and forms of letters and words.
  • Investigating sounds: Showing, among other things, how words may rhyme, share starting or ending sounds, be broken up into syllables, or be produced by fusing several sounds.
  • Educators may successfully support these aspects of a child’s early literacy development by having dialogues with the kid. Reading with the youngster in tandem.
  • Playful exercises with the youngster that use rhyme and diverse sound patterns.

Educators should encourage children to take increasing responsibility for their health and physical well-being.


Three essential characteristics define the design process used by Early Childhood Education (ECE) instructors. First off, they use a child-centred, child-interest-driven approach. This requires ongoing observation and reflection and enables flexible modifications to the learning environment depending on each group of kids’ changing needs and interests.

Second, the design process is iterative, with regular cycles ranging from weekly to yearly, depending on the learning initiatives and curricular problems.

Every cycle emphasises discovering and improving problems and solutions, encouraging a rigorous and persistent approach to design. As co-creators of meaning through the spatial architecture of the learning environment, the ECE staff and the kids are involved in the collaborative design process.

ECT’s role in constructing a multiliteracy-rich environment

  • Playing games, dancing, and other physical activities with the kids. Incorporating well-known games and engaging activities into play by drawing on experiences from the family and community.
  • Supporting kids’ fine and gross motor abilities by giving them various tools and materials.
  • Actively assisting kids in acquiring proper hygiene techniques.
  • Sharing responsibilities with kids, their families, and the community motivates them to participate in their health and hygiene practices.
  • educating kids about health and safety issues and including them in creating rules for a secure environment.
  • Including kids in routines, discussions, and activities that support healthy eating and lifestyles.
  • When organising the day’s events, consider the community’s pace.


Early Childhood Teachers (ECTs) must thus establish warm, enjoyable, and pleasant learning settings that support linguistic and academic development. They should use instructional strategies that support this objective. Additionally, ECTs are crucial in recognising delays and difficulties in linguistic and academic development. Additionally, ECTs must thoroughly understand knowledge-dissemination techniques that interest kids and support adequate language and literacy growth. This is especially important for kids studying English as a second language (ESL), whose ECTs must guarantee competency in both home and school languages. Teachers and parents must work closely as the number of ESL kids in care rises to guarantee language and literacy development. Furthermore, it is quite important to include play in the lesson plan. Since play lets kids engage and communicate, ECTs should provide materials like books, crayons, and toys to help kids develop their language and literacy abilities in practical ways.




Ashton, J. (2013). J. Fellowes and G. Oakley, Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 13(1), pp.131–137.

Beltchenko, L. (2016). Intellectual Pursuits of Young Children Through Picture Book Literacy, Focusing on Italian Preschools. Gifted Child Today, 39(3), pp.145–153.

The Hundred languages of children: the Reggio Emilia experience in transformation. (2012). Choice Reviews Online, 49(11), pp.49–640849–6408.

Loyola, C.C., Grimberg, C.A. and Colomer, Ú.B. (2020). Early childhood teachers making multiliterate learning environments: The emergence of a spatial design thinking process. Thinking Skills and Creativity, p.100655.

O’donohue, G. (n.d.). Enhancing(Early(Literacy(Prac0ces( in(Early(Childhood(Services(. [online] Available at: https://www.paintthetownread.info/wp- content/uploads/2014/11/Enhancing-Early-Literacy-Practices-in-Early-Childhood- Services-.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2022].

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