Curriculum Materials in Initial Literacy: An Instrumental Approach in Spain

  1. Rodríguez Martín, Inés 1
  2. Martín-Domínguez, Jorge 1
  3. Clemente Linuesa, María 1
  4. Ramírez Orellana, Elena 1
  1. 1 Universidad de Salamanca

    Universidad de Salamanca

    Salamanca, España


Didactics in a Changing World
  1. Florence Ligozat (ed. lit.)
  2. Kirsti Klette (ed. lit.)
  3. Jonas Almqvist (ed. lit.)

ISSN: 2662-6691 2662-6705

ISBN: 9783031208096 9783031208102

Year of publication: 2023

Pages: 83-102

Type: Book chapter

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-20810-2_6 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor


There are many cases of studies that address teaching materials, and the use teachers make of them. Teachers select, combine and adapt resources and include them in the broader management of their classroom practices. This research is part of the European didactic tradition that gives teachers and students a significant role in the process of teaching and restructuring school subjects. This chapter presents the common ground among the approaches to the teaching of initial literacy proposed by curricular materials and classroom practices with students in Early Childhood Education. The aim of this chapter will therefore be to establish the role materials play in the classroom, and specifically the teaching approach to initial literacy they involve and their correspondence with the classroom practices in which such materials are used. All this is set against the background of teaching initial literacy to students aged 3, 4 and 5 in Spain. The research we are presenting here has adopted a case-study model involving real practices. We obtained video recordings of 39 classroom sessions from nine teachers. We applied two qualitative data analysis systems to study the practices for teaching initial literacy in the classroom and the tasks in the materials. The results suggest a moderate alignment between practices and materials, within a curricular context that guides rather than dictates, albeit with a reasonably consolidated didactic culture regarding the teaching of initial literacy.

Bibliographic References

  • Al Otaiba, S., Connor, C., Lane, H., Kosanovich, M. L., Schatschneider, C., Dyrlund, A. K., Miller, M. S., & Wright, T. L. (2008). Reading first kindergarten classroom instruction and students’ growth in phonological awareness and letter naming–decoding fluency. Journal of School Psychology, 46(3), 281–314.
  • Al Otaiba, S., Folsom, J. S., Schatschneider, C., Wanzek, J., Greulich, L., Meadows, J., Li, Z. & Connor, C. M. (2011). Predicting first-grade reading performance from kindergarten response to tier 1 instruction. Exceptional Children, 77(4), 453–470.
  • Barton, D. (2007). Literacy: An introduction to the ecology of written language. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Bejarano, J. (2010). El currículum de la Educación Infantil. In J. Gimeno (Ed.), Saberes e incertidumbres sobre el currículum (pp. 399–420). Morata.
  • Bingham, S., & Whitebread, D. (2018). School readiness in Europe: Issues and evidence. In M. Fleer & B. van Oers (Eds.), International handbook of early childhood education (pp. 363–391). Springer.
  • Boschman, F., McKenney, S., & Voogt, J. (2014). Understanding decision making in teachers’ curriculum design approaches. Educational Technology Research & Development, 62, 393–416.
  • Cohen, J. (2018). Practices that cross disciplines? Revisiting explicit instruction in elementary mathematics and English language arts. Teaching and Teacher Education, 69, 324–335.
  • Defior, S., & Serrano, F. (2011). Procesos fonológicos explícitos e implícitos, lectura y dislexia. Revista Neuropsicología, Neuropsiquiatría y Neurociencias, 11(1), 79–94.
  • Erickson, J. D., & Wharton-McDonald, R. (2019). Fostering autonomous motivation and early literacy skills. The Reading Teacher, 72(4), 475–483.
  • Eurydice. (2012). El desarrollo de las competencias clave en el contexto escolar en Europa: desafíos y oportunidades para la política en la materia. Informe de Eurydice. Oficina de Publicaciones de la Unión Europea.
  • Eurydice. (2019). Compulsory education in Europe 19/20. Eurydice facts and figures. Publications Office of the European Union.
  • Friesen, A., & Butera, G. (2012). “You introduce all of the alphabet… but I do not think it should be the main focus”: Exploring early educators’ decisions about reading instruction. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40(6), 361–368.
  • Gerde, H. K., Bingham, G. E., & Pendergast, M. L. (2015). Reliability and validity of the writing resources and interactions in teaching environments (WRITE) for preschool classrooms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 31, 34–46.
  • Gericke, N., Hudson, B., Olin-Scheller, C., & Stolare, M. (2018). Powerful knowledge, transformations and the need for empirical studies across school subjects. Review of Education, 16(3), 428–444.
  • Gimeno, J. (1995). Materiales y textos: contradicciones de la democracia cultural. In J. G. Mínguez & M. Beas (Eds.), Libros de texto y construcción de materiales curriculares (pp. 13–75). Proyecto Sur.
  • Gimeno, J. (Ed.). (2010). Saberes e incertidumbres sobre el currículum. Morata.
  • Gueudet, G., Pepin, B., & Trouche, L. (Eds.). (2012). From text to “lived” resources. Mathematics curriculum materials and teacher development (pp. 23–41). Springer.
  • Kendeou, P., van den Broek, P., White, M. J., & Lynch, J. S. (2009). Predicting reading comprehension in early elementary school: The independent contributions of oral language and decoding skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(4), 765–778.
  • Kent, S. C., Wanzek, J., & Al Otaiba, S. (2012). Print reading in general education kindergarten classrooms: What does it look like for students at-risk for reading difficulties? Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 27(2), 56–65.
  • Leinhardt, G., Weidman, C., & Hammond, K. M. (1987). Introduction and integration of classroom routines by expert teachers. Curriculum Inquiry, 17(2), 135–176.
  • Ligozat, F. (2011). The determinants of the joint action in didactics: The text-action relationship in teaching practice. In B. Hudson & M. Meyer (Eds.), Beyond fragmentation: Didactics, learning and teaching in Europe (pp. 157–176). Barbara Budrich Publishers.
  • Lynch, J. (2011). An observational study of print literacy in Canadian preschool classrooms. Early Childhood Education Journal, 38(5), 329–338.
  • Morrow, L. M., Roskos, K. A., & Gambrell, L. B. (2016). Oral language and comprehension in preschool. Teaching the essentials. The Guilford Press.
  • Morrow, L. M., Dougherty, S. M., & Tracey, D. H. (2019). Best practices in early literacy: Preschool, kindergarten and first grade. In L. M. Morrow & L. B. Gambrell (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction. Sixth edition (pp. 75–103). The Guilford Press.
  • Overstreet, M. (2018). All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy: The case for play at all educational levels. Reading Psychology, 39(2), 216–226.
  • Piasta, S. B., & Wagner, R. K. (2010). Developing early literacy skills: A meta-analysis of alphabet learning and instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(1), 8–38.
  • Pressley, M., Graham, S., & Harris, K. (2006). The state of educational intervention research as viewed through the lens of literacy intervention. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 1–19.
  • Ramírez, E., Rodríguez-Martin, I., Martín-Domínguez, I., Clemente, M., & Martín-Sánchez, I. (2019). Building upon research experience: More than a decade investigating teaching practices. In B. Vogler (Ed.), Teaching practices: Implementation, challenges and outcomes (pp. 1–44). Nova Science Pub.
  • Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211–246.
  • Rodríguez, I., Clemente, M., Ramírez, E., & Martín-Domínguez, J. (2018). How and for how long is literacy taught in early childhood education? A multiple-case study of the classroom practices of seven teachers. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 26(5), 738–759.
  • Ruthven, K. (2012). Constituting digital tools and materials as classroom resources: The example of dynamic geometry. In G. Gueudet, P. Birgit, & L. Trouche (Eds.), From text to “lived” resources. Mathematics curriculum materials and teacher development (pp. 83–104). Springer.
  • Sanderson, I. (2003). Is it what works that matters: Evaluation and evidence-based policy making. Research Papers in Education, 14(1), 341–345.
  • Smagorinsky, P., Lakly, A., & Johnson, T. S. (2002). Acquiescence, accommodation, and resistance in learning to teach within a prescribed curriculum. English Education, 34, 187–213.
  • Sosniak, L. A., & Stodolsky, S. S. (1993). Teachers and textbooks: Materials use in four fourth grade classrooms. Elementary School Journal, 93, 249–275.
  • Spillane, J. P. (1999). External reform initiatives and teachers’ efforts to restructure their practice: The mediating role of teachers’ zones of enactment. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 31, 143–175.
  • Spillane, J. P., Reiser, B. J., & Reimer, T. (2002). Policy implementation and cognition: Reframing and refocusing implementation research. Review of Educational Research, 72(3), 387–431.
  • Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Sage.
  • Tafa, E. (2008). Kindergarten reading and writing curricula in the European Union. Literacy, 42(3), 162–170.
  • Valencia, S. W., Place, N. A., Martin, S. D., & Grossman, P. L. (2006). Curriculum materials for elementary reading: Shackles and scaffolds for four beginning teachers. Elementary School Journal, 107(1), 93–120.
  • Vázquez, R. M & Angulo, F. (2010). El currículum en la acción: las tareas de enseñar y aprender. El análisis del método. In J. Gimeno (Ed.), Saberes e incertidumbres sobre el currículum, (pp. 333–354). Morata.
  • Vygotsky, L. S. (1979). El desarrollo de los procesos psicológicos superiores. Grijalbo.