Before getting my first teaching job, I remember fearing the possibility of teaching kindergarten. Why? I feared all the stuff you need! A good chunk of that “stuff” is Environmental Print. What is Environmental Print? Logos and signs, many of which you will see as you’re driving by a busy shopping center or development, are examples of Environmental Print.
Instead of throwing out all the junk mail you receive amid your bills, look for the Environmental Print inside. Seeing the Sam’s, Subway, and Sprite logos will help your child recognize letters around them and see that the letters mean something. Many children first learn to “read” the M in the McDonald’s sign. While sitting in the back seat of the car, finding this familiar M every time they pass is one of their first encounters with print in the world outside of books. Seeing print in the world around them allows children to see that words belong everywhere, not just on a page.
Sometimes as parents and teachers we make reading such a formal, sit-down activity. Here is what you read, how you read, and where you read it. At such a young age as an early reader, reading should be natural; simply reading the things in the immediate surroundings.
For instance, point out street signs, restaurant names, and the words on your cereal box.
Another way to use environmental print is to throw a few books in the mix. All books are great, but make sure to invite books that are out of the norm into your home. Similarly, choose books that differ from the daily conversations you have. Then your child will grow with a rich vocabulary from which they are engulfed.
Finally, when you’re in the car with your kids, play the Alphabet game whenever possible. Spot an “A”, then a “B” and so on in signs, logos, and license plates. Make learning fun and the drive will surely go a lot faster.
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That’s the Reading Scoop,