Getting Ready to Read

Chevy Chase Library

Getting Ready to Read

Print Awareness


Print Awareness is noticing print all around you, knowing how to hold a book, and how to follow the written words on a page.  In English we read from left to right and from top to bottom.  Children with print awareness skills begin to understand that print has different functions depending on the context i.e. recipes, menus, signs and labels, story books, and environmental signs.  The purpose of reading is to gain meaning from the text and understand the ideas that words convey.

Suggestions to develop Print Awareness:
• Let your child turn the pages of a book; allow babies to explore board books, which includes mouthing the book. Talk about what is on the pages including text and pictures.
• Point to signs all around you – street signs, billboards, restaurants, grocery stores, Gas stations, etc.
• Point to words as you run your finger under the words of a story.
• Hold the book upside down and see if your child can tell you what’s wrong (for toddlers and preschoolers.)
• Allow your child to write letters and label pictures even if they can only scribble.  It is the practice of writing – not the end product.
When you begin to read a story, say “Yes, we will start with the cover or the beginning of the book.” as you demonstrate the correct way to handle the book.

Examples of books which help develop Print Awareness skills:
Dear ZOO, by Rod Cambell
The Earth Book, by Todd Parr
Mouse Mess, by Linea Riley
Pouch!, by David Stein