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Print Concepts

Why This is Important

Print concepts is the understanding that printed letters and words carry meaning. This helps children understand how books and print work. Children need to understand that words make up written and spoken communication.

Goals for Strong Readers

  • Recognize the connection between spoken and written words.
  • Understand that letters and numbers are different.
  • Know that words are groups of letters.
  • Recognize that print moves from left to right, top to bottom and page by page.
  • Recognize and write first name; recognize and write some letters to represent words.

Quick Activity

  • Have your child create a picture, then tell you about the picture while you write the words your child says.
  • Show your child the words you wrote and read them out loud.
  • As you read, move your finger under the words in a smooth sliding motion from left to right.
  • Tell your child, This is what you said about your picture.
  • Reread two or three times and ask your child to read with you.

More Activities and Games

  • Get two paper plates and write the words letters on one and numbers on the other.
  • Cut letters and numbers from magazines or newspapers or write them on pieces of paper.
  • Place on a table and ask your child to sort the letters from the numbers, placing them onto the correct paper plate.
  • Talk about the differences between letters and numbers.
  • When beginning to write, your child can copy the letters and numbers using paper and a pencil, markers, or crayons.
  • Create labels for common items that your child sees and uses such as door, table, chair, and refrigerator.
  • Point out each letter as you are writing the labels.
  • Tape the labels to the items, then read the word to your child.
  • Ask your child to read the labels with you and/or on his or her own.
  • Suggestion: leave the labels attached for your child to continue to understand the connection between the words on the labels and the objects.
  • While reading a book to your child, hold the book correctly, moving a finger below the text from left to right, top to bottom, and page to page to show the correct way to read a book.
  • Ask your child to help you read by copying how you moved your finger under the words in a smooth motion, left to right.

Spread shaving cream on a cookie sheet or flat, clean surface and show your child how to use a finger to “write” in the shaving cream. Encourage your child to write his or her first name and some letters. You can also use rice, cornmeal, or dried beans as a writing surface. These items can also be sealed in a plastic zipper bag, and your child can “write” on the sealed bag.