1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood

    As fast-evolving technologies transform everyday communication and literacy practices, many young children find themselves immersed in multiple digital media from birth. Such rapid technological change has consequences for the development of early literacy, and the ways in which parents and educators are able to equip today’s young citizens for a digital future.

    This seminal Handbook fulfils an urgent need to consider how digital technologies are impacting the lives and learning of young children; and how childhood experiences of using digital resources can serve as the foundation for present and future development. Considering children aged 0–8 years, chapters explore the diversity of young children’s literacy skills, practices and expertise across digital tools, technologies and media, in varied contexts, settings and countries.

    The Handbook explores six significant areas:

    • Part I presents an overview of research into young children’s digital literacy practices, touching on a range of theoretical, methodological and ethical approaches.
    • Part II considers young children’s reading, writing and meaning-making when using digital media at home and in the wider community.
    • Part III offers an overview of key challenges for early childhood education presented by digital literacy, and discusses political positioning and curricula.
    • Part IV focuses on the multimodal and multi-sensory textual landscape of contemporary literary practices, and how children learn to read and write with and across media.
    • Part V considers how digital technologies both influence and are influenced by children’s online and offline social relationships.
    • Part VI draws together themes from across the Handbook, to propose an agenda for future research into digital literacies in early childhood.

    A timely resource identifying and exploring pedagogies designed to bolster young children’s digital and multimodal literacy practices, this key text will be of interest to early childhood educators, researchers and policy-makers.

    Introduction: The Emerging Field of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood

    Ola Erstad, Rosie Flewitt, Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer and Íris Susana Pires Pereira

    Part I Perspectives on Digital Literacies in Early Childhood

    1 Researching the Digital Literacy and Multimodal Practices of Young Children: A European Agenda for Change

    Jackie Marsh

    2 Theorizing Digital Literacy Practices in Early Childhood

    Ola Erstad and Julia Gillen

    3 Researching Digital Literacy Practices in Early Childhood: Challenges, Complexities and Imperatives

    David Poveda

    4 Ethics and Researching Young Children’s Digital Literacy Practices

    Rosie Flewitt

    5 Comparative Global Knowledge about the Use of Digital Technologies for Learning among Young Children

    Sonia Livingstone, Sun Sun Lim, Anulekha Nandi and Becky Pham

    Part II Young Children’s Digital Literacy Practices in Homes, Communities and Informal Learning Spaces

    6 Young Children’s Digital Literacy Practices in Homes: Past, Present and Future Research Directions

    Kristiina Kumpulainen and Julia Gillen

    7 Reconceptualizing the Home of Digital Childhood

    Marta Morgade, Cristina Aliagas and David Poveda

    8 Older Siblings as Mediators of Infants’ and Toddlers’ (Digital) Media Use

    Andra Siibak and Elyna Nevski

    9 Safety (and Security) Issues in Young Children’s Digital Literacy Practices at Home

    Stéphane Chaudron, Rosanna Di Gioia and Monica Gemo

    10 Children’s Divergent Practices and Access to Digital Media in Home, School and Neighbourhood Communities

    Mastin Prinsloo

    11 "You know what’s glitching?": Emergent Digital Literacies in Video Game Play

    Edward Rivero and Kris D. Gutiérrez

    Part III

    Young Children’s Digital Literacy Practices in Early Education Settings

    12 Digital and Media Literacy-related Policies and Teachers’ Attitudes

    Christine W. Trültzsch-Wijnen, Sascha Trültzsch-Wijnen and Kjartan Ólafsson

    13 Pedagogical Approaches to Digital Literacy in Early Years Education

    Stavroula Kontovourki and Eufimia Tafa

    14 Inclusivity and Young Children’s Digital Literacy Practices in Early Education

    Grace Oakley

    15 Young Children’s Digital Play in Early Childhood Settings: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Teachers’ Knowledge

    Elizabeth Wood, Joce Nuttall, Susan Edwards and Sue Grieshaber

    16 Remixing Emergent Literacy Education: Cross-age, Plurilingual, Multimedia Adventures in Narrative Teaching and Learning

    Heather Lotherington

    17 Posthuman Theory as a Tool to Explore Literacy Desirings: Sara-Taylor-iPad-Book Becoming in Writers’ Studio

    Candace R. Kuby and Tara Gutshall Rucker

    Part IV Reading and Writing on Screen

    18 Young Children’s Writing in the 21st Century: The Challenge of Moving from Paper to Screen

    Clare Dowdall

    19 Digital Reading in the Early Years: Expertise, Engagement and Learning

    Íris Susana Pires Pereira, Cristina Vieira da Silva, Mônica Daisy Vieira de Araújo and Maria Manuel Borges

    20 Children’s Reading in the Digital Age: A Research Summary on Children’s Digital Books

    Natalia Kucirkova

    21 The Role of Moving Images in Young Children’s Literacy Practices

    Margaret Mackey

    22 Availability and Quality of Storybook Apps Across Five Less Widely Used Languages

    Adriana G. Bus, Trude Hoel, Cristina Aliagas Marin, Margrethe Jernes,  Ofra Korat, Charles L. Mifsud and Jan van Collie

    Part V Negotiating Digital Literacy Lives in Hybrid Virtual and Physical Spaces

    23 Young Children’s e-books as Digital Spaces for Multimodal Composing, Translanguaging, and Intercultural Sharing

    Mary E. Miller and Deborah Wells Rowe

    24 Virtual Play – Developing a Baroque Sensibility

    Cathy Burnett and Guy Merchant

    25 The Quantified Child: Discourses and Practices of Dataveillance in Different Life Stages

    Giovanna Mascheroni and Donell Holloway

    26 Minecraft ‘Worldness’ in Family Life: Children’s Digital Play and Socio-material Literacy Practices

    Michael Dezuanni

    27 Digital Literacy Practices in Children’s Everyday Life. Participating in On-screen and Off-screen Activities

    Pål Aarsand and Helen Melander Bowden

    28 P(l)aying Online: Toys, Apps, and Young Consumers on Transmedia Playgrounds

    Karen E. Wohlwend

    29 Webs of Relationships: Young Children’s Engagement with Web Searching

    Susan Danby and Christina Davidson

    Part VI Emergent Themes and Future Visions

    30 Future Pedagogical Approaches to Digital and Multimodal Practice in Early Childhood Education

    Anne Jyrkiäinen, Kirsi-Liisa Koskinen-Sinisalo, Pirjo Kulju, Reijo Kupiainen, Marita Mäkinen, and Angela Wiseman

    31 Emergent Challenges for the Understanding of Children’s Digital Literature

    Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer

    32 Researching Children’s Play and Identity in the Digital Age: A Holistic Approach

    Becky Parry and Fiona Scott

    33 Taking a Wide-Angled View of Contemporary Digital Literacy

    Amélie Lemieux and Jennifer Rowsell




    Ola Erstad is Professor and Head of the Department of Education, University of Oslo, Norway.

    Rosie Flewitt is Reader in Early Communication and Literacy, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK.

    Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer is Professor in the German Department at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

    Íris Susana Pires Pereira is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Education of the University of Minho, Portugal.