As a child and family health professional, opportunities may arise in your daily interaction with families to encourage and support the promotion of early literacy. This article will provide an update on current early literacy knowledge and address the challenges professionals encounter when introducing literacy programs in culturally diverse communities.
In recent years, the promotion of early literacy has gained increasing attention. Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments, as well as not for profit organisations, have introduced literacy initiatives and resources for remote early childhood services.
While the theoretical framework and the delivery model may vary for each early literacy program, there is a common belief that literacy development begins before a child starts school. Most programs place an emphasis on providing families with information and support in an effort to create an environment that encourages the development of ‘emergent literacy’.
One of the challenges in implementing an early literacy program in Australia is being aware of and responding to the cultural diversity of the population. This means recognising the indigenous culture as well as the many cultures from outside of Australia.