Print awareness is a broad term that includes the understanding that print has meaning, the knowledge of how to handle a book, and the idea that print is all around us. Print awareness is a really important pre-reading skill and is one that you can work on without too much effort as you read with your child.
Babies can learn to turn pages of a book. Even if it takes a little longer to finish the book, it’s worth the wait, since it helps them understand how a book works. When you’re reading to them, you can show them that pictures and words represent actual things. For instance, if you’re reading about a truck, point to the truck in the book, and then show them an actual toy truck.
With toddlers, turn the book backward or upside down and see if your child notices. Even if you haven’t talked about the proper way to hold a book, chances are they will know that something isn’t right. If not, show them the correct way to hold it and how the pages can be turned when you’re holding it the right way. Another great way to help your toddler develop print awareness is to point to the words as you’re reading them. This will help them to understand that the written words represent the words you are saying, and you’d be surprised at how much this little thing will help them to learn to read words.
Your preschoolers love seeing their names written. When they draw pictures, write their names on them. Point out each of the letters and say their names as you’re pointing to them. Also, when you’re in the car or at a store, make sure you point to signs and writing on products. Realizing that print is all around us is important for these little ones!
Doing these LITTLE things with your children really can make a BIG difference in their journey to become successful readers!