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Print Awareness Activities for Reading

Young children learn how print is used for reading as they observe readers and writers, and make early attempts to read and write themselves. Understanding print concepts is an important early reading skill.

Learning about turning pages in a book, directionality of print, what words and sentences look like, and where to begin reading on a page are all part of print awareness. Before children can read and write, they need to understand how written language works.

There are unique conventions used for expressing different languages in print, and young children learn how their language is represented in written form. For example, English speakers learn that print moves from left to right and goes from the top of the page down to the bottom.

These types of written language conventions are best taught over a period of time during shared reading experiences. Children who enter school with few opportunities to hear stories, hold books, or write, may need direct instruction in basic concepts of print before they are ready to tackle reading and writing. Those with many literacy opportunities in the early years often become fluent readers and writers more quickly than children without a rich literacy background.

There are many teaching opportunities for print awareness. These skill-building activities can be woven into story reading time with a group of young children, or one-on-one with a parent:

Part of early literacy development is teaching young children what is important to pay attention to when they read. This will help them read independently and with confidence when they are ready. Learning about print is a complex task, and young children need time and experience with print to understand how print works.

Children need to have many experiences using print, listening to stories, writing, watching as adults read Big Books, identifying print in the environment, and handling books. If you are interested in resources to help young children learn about print, these two books are available at Amazon.com:

Learning about Print in Preschool: Working with Letters, Words, and Beginning Links with Phonemic Awareness (Preschool Literacy Collection)



Literacy Beginnings: A Prekindergarten Handbook



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