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.
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