Thursday, May 27, 2010
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Print is all around us on signs, labels, storybooks, newspapers and magazines. Seeing print and seeing how adults react to print helps children recognize why print is important. Children with print awareness can begin to understand that written language is related to oral language.
Print awareness is ranked among the best predictors of early reading achievement as well as a child’s future reading abilities. Most children become aware of print long before they enter school. Some researchers have found that children as young as 2 years old can read environmental print. Environmental print is the print that is all around us everyday. Some examples include print on license plates, road signs and labels on the packages of the food we eat. Other researchers have shown that children often read signs rather than their print (like the McDonalds logo when you’re driving in a car).
Regardless, the ability to understand print doesn’t just happen. Children learn about print when adults and other children point out letters, words and other features of the print that surround children. When children understand “how” print works they will feel more comfortable handling books and be more likely to succeed in reading.
On the road to print awareness
Here are some indicators that a child is well on their way to an awareness of print:
- noticing print everywhere
- knowing how to follow the words on a page (left to right and top to bottom)
- knowing how to handle a book (how to hold it in their hands)
- knowing that sentences start with capital letters and end with punctuation marks
- knowing about authors’ and illustrators’ names
- knowing how to identify the front and back cover of a book
I mentioned some places adults can find environmental print to point out to children - license plates, road signs, and the packages of food we eat.
What are some examples of environmental print you use to draw a child's attention to print?