Understanding the Reggio Emilia-inspired literacy education: A meta-ethnographic study

Reggio Emilia-inspired literacy education


  • Hatice Zeynep İnan Uludag University


The Reggio Emilia pedagogy is compatible with literacy education goals. However, just a few detailed accounts have been published about how literacy instruction is integrated into the Reggio Emilia-inspired preschools. The study adopted qualitative research design and aimed to fill this gap by conducting a meta-ethnographic study by examining and synthesizing various studies done on play-based emergent literacy education in Reggio Emilia inspired-preschools. The study adopted Noblit and Hare’s 7 steps meta-ethnography method, including interpretations and syntheses of various studies. Since the meta-ethnography method involves cumulative synthesis through induction, the current research employed synthesis of 24 studies by analyzing in-depth, and then synthesizing the studies comparatively and cumulatively, maintaining links among the synthesis and then creating hypotheses and implications for teachers and parents accordingly. The emerged theme was discussed along with the sub-themes, namely philosophy, practices, and evidence. Each sub-theme was scrutinized in detail during the data analysis. It was found that play-based education in Reggio Emilia-inspired preschools successfully accomplished healthy literacy development covering all the links (cognitive, psychological, ecological, social and sociocultural perspectives) between play and literacy. Early childhood educators and parents were advised to take children’s interests and needs into consideration to provoke literacy-related plays and to set up the literacy-enriched climate, where children could reach materials easily, had time and space to interact with them, and had adult and peer assistance to enrich their literacy-play activities. By using multiple literacies (100 Languages) and making literacy learning enjoyable and fun, play guarantees young children’s early attempts at literacy to be successful. In short, the study illustrated that literacy was reconceptualised in a new and effective way in Reggio-inspired preschools compared to traditional literacy education in other preschools and it was found that what makes the Reggio Emilia-inspired experiences special was the whole approach to literacy instruction.