PRINT AWARENESS is…
• Noticing print everywhere.
• Knowing how a book works (front/back, top/bottom, left/right).
• Knowing how to follow words on a page and that words are separated by white spaces.
• Understanding that print has meaning and is useful.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Children must be aware of words and understand that they convey meaning before they can learn to read. They need to learn that pictures and words represent things in the real world, and that letters represent sounds.
BUILD THE SKILL:
• Babies begin to understand how a book works by putting it in his or her mouth.
• Allow your baby to play with board books, cloth books or plastic books just like any other toy.
• Give your baby opportunities to turn pages.
• Point out and read print in your child’s environment.
• Make books together.
• Playfully, hold a book upside down or start reading from back to front. Let your toddler show you the correct way to read a book.
• Read books that have a few simple words in large type (BEEP! BEEP!) or a repeated word (“moo, moo”) that you can point out to your child.
• Point out the author and title of the book you are reading.
• Occasionally run your finger under a word or sentence as you are reading.
• Read books that highlight print or characters who are writing.
• Encourage writing as a part of pretend play (grocery lists, postcards, etc).
• Make books together using a story the child has made up.
• Model use of print (shopping lists, to do lists, letter writing).
• When you cook together, read the recipe together.