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This article describes how young children’s early relationships with caregivers and other significant adults, such as teachers, do far more than introduce and mediate their literacy experiences. These relationships are the experience, and only with time and development do young children differentiate from these experiences the signs and symbols as objects for exploration in their own right. To understand the literacy development of children, birth to five, one must understand the role children’s relationships play in this development. To support this argument, the authors cross disciplines and include theories within literacy and developmental psychology. First, they describe theories related to the role others play in children’s general development. They then review studies which examined how these relationships influence children’s literacy development; next they examine the prominence of children’s relationships with others in current literacy documents. Finally, this article concludes with suggestions to forefront the relational dimension of literacy learning.

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