Reading with Infants in a Mexican Day Care Center

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Reading with and to babies (0 to 3 years) is an emerging theme in research and practice (cfr. Maas, et al., 2013) and is highlighted by UNICEF (2001). This research focusses on literacy practices and communities of practice and recognizes babies as social participants and cultural apprentices.

This presentation reports findings from a 10 month reading intervention in child care centers with infants aged 45 days to 24 months. Thirty minutes of reading per week were enough to familiarize babies with reading as an activity and as a way of handing books. We designed a shared context for communication and language interaction around reading events of fiction and non-fiction books for children.

Babies learned to use the books as linguistic participants (cfr. Barton y Hamilton, 2004) in interactions with adults (cfr. Schaffe, 1989). Our results show that they express themselves through babbling and gesticulations of joy. They also learned to look at books as objects and to point out specific aspects of reading materials. As they participated in these literacy events, they recognized and appropriated their environment, books as technologies and different roles. Each infant seems to decide how to intervene and assume passive or active stances toward reading. Commitment by infants to reading practice does occur but only in carefully structured environments for this purpose. This is important for promoting reading in a highly inequitable society such as Mexico.