Appendix 3: Glossary

Action research

A reflective and cyclic process to improve strategies, practices, and knowledge based on problem solving. The process involves identifying the problem, creating a solution, implementing the solution, evaluating, and modifying ideas and practice.

Alphabet knowledge

Refers to the names of the letters of the alphabet that the child knows, and their recognition of the symbols used.

Concepts about print/ books

These are concepts that show how much a child knows about how books, text, and pictures work. For example, reading from left to right and top to bottom, and making connections between the text and illustrations.

Letter-sound knowledge

Refers to what the child knows about the names of the alphabet letters and some of the sounds they make.


A socio-cultural approach to literacy takes into account multi-literacies such as linguistic, visual, auditory, gestural, and spatial forms. In an early childhood setting these may include: writing, painting, speech, dance, music, images, film, television, computers, and telecommunications.

Multi-modal literacies

Young children’s understandings of literacy develop within their socio-cultural and linguistic communities. As children move across these communities, they encounter a variety of literacies and literacy practices. Many of these literacies are multi-modal and technologically based, requiring simultaneous and combined uses of visual, audio and critical meaning systems (Jones Diaz, 2007: 31)

Phonemes and phonological awareness

Phonemes are the smallest units of sound that make a difference to the meaning of spoken words (Hamer & Adams, 2003:46). Phonological awareness refers to an individual’s awareness of the sound structure, or phonological structure, of a spoken word including syllables, onsets and rimes, and phonemes. The ability to segment and blend phonemes is critical for the development of decoding skills, reading fluency, and spelling.


A socio-cultural curriculum acknowledges the individual child and the knowledge, skills and attitudes that child brings to their learning and development. It acknowledges that learning begins at home, and the early childhood services and the wider community provide further opportunities for learning.

Umbrella organisation

Overarching organisations such as kindergarten or playcentre associations, home based care networks, or private companies with multiple services. In some, there is an overarching philosophy guiding practice.