Download the full-sized PDF of A complex inquiry into preschoolers' multiliteracy practices at homeDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

A complex inquiry into preschoolers' multiliteracy practices at home Open Access


Other title
early childhood education
complexity theory
multiliteracy practices
new literacies
preschoolers' home literacy practices
mobile touch screen devices
home and school connection
digital literacy
island of expertise
online games
early literacy practices
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wong, Suzanna, So Har
Supervisor and department
Laidlaw, Linda (Elementary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Dunn, William (Secondary Education)
Wiltse, Lynne (Elementary Education)
Kirova, Anna (Elementary Education)
Branch-Mueller, Jennifer (Elementary Education)
Dooley, Karen (School of Curriculum, Queensland University of Technology)
Laidlaw, Linda (Elementary Education)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The increased use of digital devices in the home for work, communication, entertainment, and information searching makes these devices attractive to young children, who learn to communicate by observing and interacting with family members. This qualitative study examined 11 Canadian and Australian preschoolers’ (ages 3 to 5) multiliteracy practices at home and their parents’ perspectives of these multiliteracy practices. The following questions guided my study: What literacy practices are preschool children engaging with in their home environments? How are multiliteracy practices influencing the home lives of these children? What are parents’ attitudes toward their children’s engagement of multiliteracy practices in the home, including “traditional” and “new” literacy practices? How are parents within the study interpreting their children’s home literacy practices? Drawing on a complexity-thinking perspective, this study examined the complex phenomena of young children’s literacy practices and learning at home. Complexity thinking understands the world as an integrated whole, fundamentally interdependent, interconnected, and intertwined, rather than as a disconnected collection of small parts (Bateson, 1979; Capra, 1996; Maturana & Varela, 1992). I used Green’s (1988, 2012) three dimensions (3D) of literacy as a conceptual frame to understand and interpret my data because it views literacy practices holistically. Complexity-thinking perspectives and Green’s 3D model provided strong theoretical and conceptual frames, useful language, visual images, and metaphors to explore the complex learning systems of young children in this study. The data collection tools I used were participant observations, field notes, informal interviews, and conversations with participants. Video and audio recordings of home observations and interviews were transcribed, and field notes were juxtaposed with the video and audio transcripts. I analyzed the data at both macro level, to identify general patterns across domains, and micro level, to capture details of individual children’s engagement with multiliteracy practices at home. Three emergent themes are illustrated in research vignettes which revealed in my study that (a) the children are using a wide range of technology tools within their everyday literacy practices; (b) their multiliteracy practices, learning, and playing are all interconnected and intertwined within their daily lives; and (c) their access to and use of technology tools at home are intricately linked with their parents’ attitudes and dispositions toward new technologies. The insights gained from my study have the potential to provide valuable information for early childhood educators, policy makers, and curriculum builders in connecting children’s home literacy experiences with in-school literacy practices. A deeper understanding of preschool-aged children’s home literacy practices will be central to scaffold their transition from home to formal schooling.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 10662163
Last modified: 2016:06:16 16:47:50-06:00
Filename: Wong_Suzanna_SH_201601_PhD.pdf
Original checksum: c37d1638d60f2f787c8703137d92be83
Well formed: true
Valid: false
Status message: Invalid page tree node offset=132803
File language: en-US
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date