Graphicacy - ‘the ability to understand and present information in the form of sketches, photographs, diagrams, maps, plans, charts, graphics and other non-textual two dimensional formats… The information can be directly representative of what we see’ (as in photographs or drawings), ‘or more abstract – for example information which is spatial (as in maps, plans and diagrams) or numerical (as in tables and graphs),’ (Aldritch and Sheppard, 2000: 8).

‘Mark making’ is a generic term increasingly used to describe the ways in which children ’create and experiment with symbols and marks’ for both drawing and writing (DfES, 2007: 64). However, we argue that the term ‘mark-making’ fails to do justice to young children’s powerful thinking and the ways in which children choose to communicate with (for example) pen and paper. We are not alone in raising this concern and in early childhood research into children’s drawing the term graphicacy is gaining ground.

We use the term graphicacy to encompass all aspects of visual representations that children use, including drawings, writing and maps. We realised early in our research that to term young children’s mathematical representations ‘mathematical marks’ failed to do them justice: they are much more than ‘marks’ and are best described as 'children’s mathematical graphics’.




    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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