Print Awareness is a First Step to Learning to Read

Print Awareness | Reading Rockets

The link above provides strategies, resources and videos for parents and teachers so they can begin to help their child develop the very important concept of a “word” — that meaning is conveyed through words; that printed words are separated by spaces; and that some words in print look longer (because they have more letters) than other words.

Print awareness (also called concepts of print) is the understanding that print carries meaning, that books contain letters and words. Print awareness also includes an understanding of what books are used for and how a book “works” — how to turn pages, how to find the top and bottom of a page, and how to identify the title and the front and back covers.

Print awareness is a child’s earliest introduction to literacy. Children with print awareness understand that print has different functions depending on the context in which it appears — for example, menus list food choices, a book tells a story, a sign can announce a favorite restaurant or warn of danger.

Print awareness is understanding that print is organized in a particular way — for example, knowing that print is read from left to right and top to bottom. It is knowing that words consist of letters and that spaces appear between words.

The ability to understand how print works does not emerge magically and unaided. This understanding comes about through the active intervention of adults and other children who point out letters, words, and other features of the print that surrounds children.