Print awareness is an essential pre-reading skill, which teaches children that books are made up of words and that these words mean something. It makes children become aware of the fact that when adults read a book, they are not just making up the words by looking at pictures in the book. They are actually reading words and words mean something.
Print awareness also helps children realize that print is organized in a particular way. For instance, a child will learn that we read from left to right in English and top to bottom of the page. Print awareness is also knowing that words are made up of letters and that spaces appear between words in a sentence. It is a child’s first baptism into literacy.
Several studies have shown that children who lack this basic skill are very likely to become unsuccessful readers. In fact, a child’s print awareness performance is a good indicator of their future reading achievement.
Basic Print Awareness Checklist
- Does your child know that a book has a cover and pages?
- Can your child point to the title on the cover?
- Does your child know that we read from left to right and top to bottom in English?
- Does your child know that books contain different types of information? For example, do they know the difference between a storybook and menu?
- Can your child turn pages of books as if pretending to read?
- Do they understand that the pictures in books are actual objects, people or places?
- Can your child point to the first and last words on a page?
- Finally, can your child identify letters in words?
Developing Print Awareness – Tips
- Use your finger, a pencil or crayon to trace words as you read them.
- When you are outside, point to road signs, menus, billboards, advertisements and texts in the environment. For example, point to the ‘P’ in the parking lot.
- Try starting to read a book upside down and see if your child notices anything odd. Do they correct you? If not, ask them if you are holding the book the correct way.
- With an infant, point to pictures as you read a book.
- Try labeling objects in the house like the TV, refrigerator, books, toys and more.
- Read to your child often
- Spell your child’s name somewhere in the house and show them the letters that make up their name.
- Let your child show you where a title starts and ends.
These few tips and tricks should get you up to speed with raising your child’s print awareness. Kiz Phonics® offers a preschool level, which is all about laying the foundation for learning to read. Check out - http://www.kizphonics.com/phonics-program/preschool/