Print Awareness & Concepts

As children become acquainted with books, they will begin to realize that print has meaning.  Preschool teachers can help children develop the various concepts of print by planning activities everyday.  These activities can be taught at group, through a print rich environment, and through children’s play.  Children will learn to read in Kindergarten, Preschool teachers build the foundation to reading by teaching the concepts of print.  These concepts include

  • Understanding that print means something.
  • That print follows a set of rules.  (In English print moves from left to right and top to bottom).
  • What I say can be written down.
  • Print is all around us in the form of letters, words, and numbers.
  • That there are different forms of print that are used for different purposes.

Making your environment print rich is an easy way to show children the meaning, and value, of print.   Every center should have printed materials within it as well as several books. 

Ideas to Promote Print Awareness & Concepts

  • Put the children’s names throughout the room (on cubbies, beds, folders, artwork).
  • Add labels to your shelves so the children can ‘read’ where to put things away.
  • Teach children to notice environmental print within your school (exit, bathroom, food packaging).
  • Add pictures of environmental print from your community (menus from restaurants, road signs, empty food containers).
  • As you read, use your finger underneath to track moving left to right and top to bottom.
  • As you read a book with a repetitive line, point out the word/words each time and have the children repeat the word/words with you.
  • Write the children’s dictations of their art works or stories and attach to their work.
  • Make lists and write the children’s responses.  (What is your favorite, if you had a dollar what would you buy, this weekend I).
  • Make classroom books (Our field trip, I feel sad when, a few of our favorite things).
  • Bring in pictures of your community stores and helper signs to add to the block center.
  • Teach the children the difference between fiction (stories with characters and beginning-middle-end) and non-fiction (provide information about people, places, and things).
  • Use lists, directions, write letters, and follow recipes as much as possible.
  • Make graphs and charts to use with the children (Do you like baths or showers, What is your favorite pizza? pepperoni, cheese, mushroom)
  • Point out the color names on markers and labels on items throughout the room.
  • Make rebus type directions for building with Duplo’s, blocks, or for doing simple science explorations.
  • Have plenty of books throughout the room for the children to look at everyday, all day.