Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy by Gunther Kress

By Gunther Kress

Gunther Kress argues for a thorough reappraisal of the phenomenon of literacy, and accordingly for a profound shift in academic perform. via shut recognition to the plethora of gadgets which kids consistently produce--drawings, cut-outs, writings and collages-- Kress indicates a collection of ideas which demonstrate the underlying coherence of children's actions-- activities which permit us to attach them with makes an attempt to make that means earlier than they collect language and writing.

This booklet presents primary demanding situations to mostly held assumptions approximately either language and literacy and inspiration and motion. It areas those demanding situations in the context of hypothesis concerning the skills for you to develop into crucial for kids as teenagers, and demands the unconventional decentering of language in academic conception and perform.

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Nevertheless, this conceptual ‘what is to hand’ is significant, because it in itself sets limits to and provides possibilities for imagination, opens up categories such as time and space, history and prehistory, and cultural differences of various kinds. It provides materials to choose from, and therefore materials for the differentiation of gender, for instance. However, not everything can be to hand, and not everything can be made available, whether this is the conceptual stuff or the material stuff with which children make the signs that express their meanings.

I can feel how heavy or light it is, how smooth its surface, feel its shape, its dynamic quality. This is obviously so with the Lego car also. 1, but in addition I can physically explore it; I can feel it. Above all, I can move it about and place it in entirely new environments, with other objects, to form new structures in new imagined and real worlds. Its affective qualities and potentials are entirely different from those of the flat, two-dimensional object. With the latter, any attempts to insert it into an imaginary new context do have to remain imaginary and distanced.

The toolbox serves as a bonnet, the two flanking drawers are the car doors, the central pillow is the/are the car’s seats, on which—for a while anyway—the two 6-year-olds were happy to sit. A very short time after I had taken this photo, the car had already been changed beyond its shape in the photo. By the next morning the pillow and the upturned drawers were still on the floor, but there was no suggestion at all of them being a car. The point, and it is a crucial point, is that these objects, or structures, or configurations, are temporary only, and are subject to constant transformation.

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