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Title: Lacunae and potential in the development of talking stories and their use to support literacy in the early years
Author: Haywood, Susan Frances
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Jade, aged seven, asked whether a talking story was a story or a game replied: " ... it's like a story but when you click on stuff it's like a bit of a game-ish thjng" thus neatly capturing the ontological ambiguity of talking stories, the texts which are the focus of this study. The study is located across several ar~as of scholarship and practice: new literacy, new technologies and literacy pedagogy, focusing on the use of digital texts, commonly known as talking stories, in the early years. It also draws extensively on consideration of two further formats, that of picturebooks and, to a lesser extent, computer games. Observations of children aged between five and seven years of age interacting with a talking story, and their perceptions of the medium, are used to raise theoretical questions about the potential of such texts to support children's development as active agents and literate participants in a society in which multi modal digital texts are assuming ever greater significance. The changing nature of literacy and the opportunities provided by multi modal texts are explored as the context in which these developments are located. The study argues that research into children's interactions with talking stories and pedagogic practice associated with their use often suggests too limited a view of the contribution that such texts can make to literacy development. The opportunities provided for children to engage dialogically with talking stories, in particular, have been neglected. Making comparisons with developments in other formats, the study argues that in the case of talking stories, opportunities have been overlooked and their full potential has not been realised. Furthermore, this potential has generally not been recognised by teachers or researchers, and the study calls for a reconceptualisation of practice and recognition of potential in this area. The affordances of a range of texts and technologies are considered, as well as the impact of technological developments. Drawing on these affordances, as well as the narrative and metanarrative features of picturebooks and ergodic narratives in computer game format, the study suggests ways in which talking stories might develop. The study argues that if technological and textual affordances were fully exploited, digital texts could be developed which offer the type of complex, multi-layered stories that are features of narratives in other formats published for children in the early years. The ontological confusion surrounding the commonly-used term for the texts under consideration is discussed and the term 'interactive picturebooks' is proposed as a new and more accurate designation. Criteria for evaluating and classifying interactive picturebooks for children are proposed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available