How Young Children And Parents Produce Interactional Environments For Reading From The Screen During Digital Technology Use

Year: 2015

Author: Davidson, Christina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Research literature that addresses young children’s digital literacy learning is dominated by studies of the effectiveness of digital resources, programs and websites designed specifically to teach reading skills. Far less attention is given to the accomplishment of reading as it occurs spontaneously during young children’s everyday activity with digital technology.
This paper presents findings of a corpus analysis of 32 sequences of interaction between young children and their parents as they used digital technology in the home. Sequences were drawn from data recorded in a larger study of young children’s web searching at home and at preschool. Corpus analysis enabled systematic identification and description of interactional phenomena that led to reading aloud from the screen. Children in the study were aged between 3-5 years of age and their everyday use of digital technology was video recorded by their parents. Recordings captured children’s on-screen activity, frequently involving concurrent interactions with parents or siblings.
Conversation analysis of the sequences in the corpus established two distinctive features of turns of talk that were regularly followed by reading aloud from the screen. The paper considers examples of each of these features of talk and then presents an analysis of an extended sequence of interaction where both turns were produced and following by reading during the playing of a digital game. Discussion considers (1) orientations of young children and parents to reading from the screen and the production of turns that are hearable as reading rather than conversation (2) the sequential environment was consequential for establishing reading as meaningful, and (3) how young children’s interactional competence enabled reading to occur and contributed to some next action on the computer.
Conclusions are drawn about corpus analysis as a means for closely examining and describing the systematic methods by which numbers of young children and parents interact to produce reading. Specifically, it is argued that corpus analysis can deepen our understanding of individual instances of reading from the screen as in situ accomplishments that nevertheless make use of common interactional resources displayed by all children and parents across the corpus.