This paper examines the contention that an ‘autonomous’ model of literacy dominates pedagogy and research, emphasising technical outcomes for even the youngest children. It considers theoretical obstacles to alternative research paradigms, particularly a stance that views writing as ‘talk written down’. Studies of early mark-making suggest that children’s signs are always intentional, already displaying some evidence of systemic principles in relation to writing, drawing, and number. This is supported by theoretical stances in multimodality, social semiotics, and phenomenology. These positions substantiate the development of new methodologies in early literacy research, emphasising interactive processes rather than outcomes. The paper considers the use of micro, multimodal transcripts of video evidence to examine the process of children’s sign-making. It looks at vignettes of transcribed data involving children under the age of 3, and the use of microanalysis to investigate early writing.
- © 2013 International Institute for Qualitative Research, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign