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Print Awareness

Print Awareness

Children who have an awareness of print understand that the squiggly lines on a page represent spoken language. They understand that when adults read a book, what they say is linked to the words on the page, rather than to the pictures.

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. Print awareness is a child's earliest introduction to literacy.

To help build print awareness skills at home, see our Top Print Awareness Apps >

Featured Video: Print Awareness

For Teachers

Children with print awareness can begin to understand that written language is related to oral language. Children who lack print awareness are unlikely to become successful readers. Indeed, children's performance on print awareness tasks is a very reliable predictor of their future reading achievement.
Print awareness is a child's earliest understanding that written language carries meaning. The foundation of all other literacy learning builds upon this knowledge. The following are guidelines for teachers in how to promote print awareness and a sample activity for assessing print awareness in young children.
How can you help kids develop print awareness? Here are some sample questions and prompts you can use before, during, and after a read aloud activity to help children activate basic knowledge about print and books.
Children's knowledge of letter names and shapes is a strong predictor of their success in learning to read. Knowing letter names is strongly related to children's ability to remember the forms of written words and their ability to treat words as sequences of letters.

Classroom Strategies

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
July 10, 2014
June 24, 2014
"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain