Print Awareness – Early Literacy Series

Getting started with print awareness'

Welcome to the beginning of a series focused on early literacy! We’re going to kick this off by discussing print awareness. Research shows that students will have a higher chance of being successful in reading when they have strong print awareness skills. Throughout the school day, teachers must be intentional about building print awareness. We have to provide literacy experiences which consist of concepts about books and print, as well as attitudes when it comes to reading and writing. Let’s dive in!

Concepts About Books

A part of building print awareness includes children not only understanding books but also how they should read a book. They know that books are used for reading, they can hold the book right side up and they know where they should start reading and which direction they should read (front to back). They also read the left page before the right page and they turn the page correctly.

As their print awareness grows, children know what a book title is, that pictures are related to the print, understand that there are an author and illustrator, and understand what their jobs are. They will also exhibit comprehension by retelling familiar stories by using pictures, setting, theme, and plot in addition to sequencing stories. They will respond to appropriate questions about stories as well.

Concepts About Print

An understanding of concepts of print include everything from letters and words to punctuation, signs, and symbols. The student will understand directionality, understand the concept of a  letter and a word by pointing to only one, and they are able to follow along by pointing at words, beginning to match the spoken word to the printed word.

A big shift in understanding occurs when the student realizes that print is speech written down, can fluently identify letters by name, associate sounds with letters, start to use pictures to help them identify words, use meaning and syntax to identify words and even predict the story. They begin to copy letters and words, write their own name, hear and record sounds in words, and write down a few high-frequency words.

Student Attitudes Toward Reading & Writing

We have a great responsibility in helping to shape student attitudes toward reading and writing. How they feel toward reading and writing has a direct correlation to their literacy growth. As children are exposed to reading and writing, it is important that we make the experiences both meaningful and enjoyable. During this time assessments can be conducted to see if the student enjoys being read to, if they choose to look at books when they have a bit of free choice time, if they want to share books with their classmates, and if they show interest in writing. These assessments can be conducted formally or informally.

Observing children daily and taking anecdotal notes as they respond to your literacy block is the best way to determine their level of understanding when it comes to books and print. Sometimes you need the information at your fingertips as you plan for mini-lessons during the week. I created these for a quick informal assessment so that you can have a snapshot of where your students are in regards to print awareness. You can grab these freebies by clicking here or on the picture above. Stay tuned for the next blog post in our early literacy series!

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