Workshop on Early Literacy under the focus of language and cognitive development


Interdisciplinary workshop, ZiF Bielefeld, 22nd and 23rd of March, 2012

As an umbrella term, ‘literacy‘ refers to a number of children‘s abilities, such as linguistic literacy (the ability to read and write), literary literacy (the ability to produce and interpret narratives) and visual literacy (the ability to produce and interpret pictures). In ‘early literacy‘, relating to the preschool years, these abilities develop in a cross-fertilizing way, accompanied and steered by other processes of cognitive, sensomotoric and interactional maturation and learning. As a first step towards understanding these complex processes, the workshop will bring together scholars from linguistics, cognitive psychology, and children‘s literature research. The topics raised in this workshop will be discussed along three basic assumptions: 1) Children‘s literacy is a specific input; a theory of language acquisition has to account for how this form of input influences learning processes. 2) A crucial property of children‘s literature is that it considers children‘s cognitive and language skills; a theory of children‘s literature has to explain this property. 3) Cognitive abilities develop within complex situational acts; a theory of cognitive psychology has to explain how language acquisition and emerging literacy are fostered in such complex situations. Our discussion will lead to a road map for a hitherto neglected and unknown territory.

Invited speakers

  • Chiara Barachetti, University of Verona, Italy
  • Pamela Blewitt, Villanova University, USA
  • Patricia Ganea, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Petra Gretsch, Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg, Germany
  • Angela Grimminger, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Jessica Horst, University of Sussex, UK
  • Gunther Kress, University of London, UK
  • Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany
  • Jörg Meibauer, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany
  • Claudia Müller, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
  • Kerstin Nachtigäller, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Maria Nikolajeva, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Uta Quasthoff, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
  • Elaine Reese, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Katharina Rohlfing, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Constanze Weth, Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg, Germany
  • Petra Wieler, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

You can find the programm here.


Please contact the conference office (Ms Trixi Valentin) for registration.

The deadline for registration is 31st of January, 2012.

There is no registration fee, but participants and non-members of Bielefeld University might book full meals for 36 € (cash payment at ZiF).


ZiF Bielefeld - Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (Center for Interdisciplinary Research)

Organizing committee


For further information, please contact the organizing committee.

Group photo of the participants of the workshop