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Toddler looking at colorful board book

Print Awareness

Print awareness is basic knowledge about print and how it is typically organized on a page. A young child with print awareness knows that print conveys meaning, print is read left to right, and words are separated by spaces. 

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 also knowing that print communicates meaning. Watching a child scribble and ask you to “read” it back. Sharing a book together as you point out the title and pictures versus the print. Activities that adults may take for granted, such as finding letters, words, and spaces in books. These are all examples of concepts of print.

Parents and preschool educators can support print awareness by pointing to words as you read and stopping a few times during the story to ask questions, make a comment, or to point to something in the text you want a child to notice.

Becoming aware of print

Mira is two-and-a-half years old. Watch how Mira’s parents help her become aware of print.

Concepts of print observation

A young child demonstrates his concepts of print.

More on print awareness