To us, ‘print awareness’ comes naturally and we often take it for granted. But, to the 2-4 year old child you care for, print awareness is a new concept. It’s as new to them as self driving cars are to you.

Print awareness is the second step in my pre-kindergarten Reading Readiness System. It is the understanding that print is read from left to right and top to bottom. It is knowing that words consist of letters and that there are spaces between words. Those of us with fully developed print awareness understand that print has different functions depending on the context - signs, books, menus, labels on food products, etc. It’s surprising how much we use print, isn’t it?

Print awareness is an early and critical step in literacy and it doesn’t just magically appear in a child’s life. Your child’s performance on print awareness tasks is actually a very reliable predictor of his/her future reading achievement.

Here are easy tips that parents and educators can use to help children develop this crucial skill:

You can point out letters and words to your child when you come across it in your day to day activities.

When children participate in interactive reading with you, they learn about book handling, how to turn pages, and how to identify the front and back cover of the book. They also learn that a word on a page represents a spoken word. - That meaning is conveyed through written words.

The beauty of print awareness is that it is never too early to introduce it to the children you care for. Starting now means planting seeds for the future success of your child. Talk about good karma!

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