Literacy development and identity construction can be supported by children's play with toys and by providing props and proxies that suggest particular roles and inspire storytelling. A view of toys as texts recognizes that children's play with media characters, dolls, and accessories offers a window into their interests and a rich resource for reading and writing in school. When allowing children to bring their toys into the classroom, you have to beware that some may not see this as appropriate especially parents, teachers and administrators. By providing opportunities for others to come into the classroom and see how the toys are being used allows for understanding.
Future steps in rethinking toys and revaluing play in schools.
- Engage in literacy teaching that values play as a multimodal meaning-making system.
- Encourage children to play with their favorite toys or action figures as an integral part
Of storytelling and writing.
- Provision the environment and create regular opportunities for child-directed play.
- Create time for children to discuss, collaborate, and negotiate their own play as part of
Reading and writing workshops along with providing books, props, toys and art materials.
- Advocate for reintegrating play into elementary curricula as a tool for twenty-first-
Century litany learning.
- Attend to children's interests and purpose in play to better understand children's
Intentions and meaning.
- Recognize that play opens opportunities to reproduce as well as challenge stereotypes.
- We need to be prepared to mediate play that is exclusionary by talking with children,
Showing excluded children how to gain access to play group by suggesting a logical role
Or action for their character, by joining a play scenario to demonstrate inclusive play
- Contribute through our own teacher research to an emerging body of literacy research on
Social context and children's popular culture.
- Toys as text aligns with many literacy research articles.
- Be aware of growing digital opportunities to integrate popular toys with school literacy.
- There are many online opportunities to connect to children's out-of-school literacies.
Reclaiming Play Reading Toys as Popular Media Texts by Karen Wohlwend and Pam Hubbard