Kindergartners are asked to identify the front and back of a book, the spine, the title page, the difference between a letter and a word, right-side up from upside down, among other things. How do they learn all that? Through experience with books! Little ones’ experiences with books help them develop print awareness.
Check out all 6 Emergent Literacy Skills:
Emergent Literacy #1: Print Motivation
Emergent Literacy #2: Print Awareness
Emergent Literacy #3: Letter Knowledge
Emergent Literacy #4: Vocabulary
Emergent Literacy #5: Phonological Awareness
Emergent Literacy #6: Narrative Skills
Emergent Literacy Skill #2
Print Awareness means knowing how a book works and being able to recognize print. So, how does a book work? It has a front cover where we start reading. There’s a title page with the name of the book and the author. We turn the pages as we read the words written on the page until we get the the back cover which tells us we are at the end of the book. As simple as that is, EVERYTHING is new to babies and toddlers so even the obvious way a book works has to be learned. With enough exposure children learn this naturally. But there are also many things we can do to help our little ones become aware of print. They range from formal instruction to silly games! Here are a few:
- Always read the title page! I was surprised this is something kindergartners are expected to know. I did this with one of Sammi’s books. Now every time we read The House That Jack Built she adds in “Simms Taback” who is the illustrator.
- Use your finger to underline the words you are reading. This helps little ones realize the words you’re saying come from the print on the page, not the pictures.
- Hold the book upside down and begin to read. It’s so fun to see little ones flip out because it’s not right! Look for them to turn books right-side up when they are exploring books on their own.
- Read anything you come across: cereal boxes, street signs, clothing labels. Point at the words as you read them and talk about them.
- Do letter scavenger hunts. We always look for and find the letter “S” because it’s the first letter in Sammi’s name.
FANTASTIC post! Thanks for all of the ideas. I put a link to your blog post here! http://theattachedmama.blogspot.com/2009/08/pre-reading-skills-building-print.html
Jessi Obermeyer says
Great insights here about emergent literacy that people don’t hear enough of. I like to talk about this topic in terms of custom clothing labels for kids. What’s the first word a lot of kids learn to spell? Their name. It’s great to show the kids early on how learning to read can be used in their lives. With personalized clothes labels, kids can see their names on their clothing items and understand how their name ties them to the items that belong to them.