Environmental Print and a first step to reading

Reading print from the world around us is a valuable pre-reading skill and an early stage of literacy development.  Children very quickly learn to recognise signs and labels which are meaningful to them. The letters, numbers, shapes, and colours seen in logos and signs such as McDonald’s, Tesco, CBeebies, all provide opportunities for emerging readers to interact with print and the written world around them. As adults we don’t consider it real “reading”, however this environmental print helps bridge the connection between letters and first efforts to read using context clues as a strategy for making sense of the written word.
Take advantage of all this rich print by engaging actively with your little one in the following activities:-
- Play ‘I Spy’ by describing a logo or sign on a journey
- Packaging offers wonderful examples of print in different eye-catching colours and sizes, as well as images that correspond to the printed material. Ask your child to spot the first letter of their name somewhere on the box. Notice that on a box of Cheerios, they put a Cheerio over the letter “i” in the word instead of a dot.
- Let your child take photos of different signs and logos and make a scrap book for your child to ‘read’.
- On the next routine food shop spot signs and play ‘…can we find a sign for…’
- Choose a simple sign like a ‘STOP’ sign to focus on during a car trip. Count the number of signs seen along the way. Read the sign, noticing that the same sign says the same message each time. Talk about the sounds of the letters you can hear ("The S makes the 'sss' sound.")
- On a car journey play the registration plate game spotting certain letters, numbers or car makes and model logos.