Environmental Print – Great for Beginning Readers

Posted on September 25th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart in Storytime Standouts Shares Early Literacy News and Commentary


Looking for letters and words in the environment is great for beginning readers!

I’ve been having some fun this week. I grabbed my camera and headed out on a hunt for words in my community.

Environmental print is print that is all around us. In our homes, it is on food packaging and on other products we use. In a public building it is on door handles (PUSH, PULL) and above doorways (EXIT), when we go for a drive, it is on road signs (STOP), vehicles (POLICE, AMBULANCE), buildings (DRUG STORE) and in other public places (PARK, GARBAGE, RECYCLE).





Environmental Print - Storytime Standouts shares a Smile

For a preschool or kindgergarten-age child, who is anxious to read his first word, environmental print may be “just the ticket.” Head out for a walk and see how many words your child can “read.” In all likelihood, he will already know how to read “McDonalds” or “Starbucks.”

Can he use context clues to correctly “read” more of the words around him? Can he “read” a situation and use the information he sees to make a correct guess about the letters and words he sees?

City Signs by Zoran Milich
Environmental Print picture book published by Kids Can Press

City Signs is a great book to share with four and five year olds, particularly youngsters who are anxious to read. City Signs is a series of photographs that each include at least one word. The word is shown in context so young “readers” can use their detective skills to make an educated guess about the word. Some of the words are unmistakable: ambulance, ice cream, life guard, horses. Other words are somewhat trickier: litter and supermarket could be mistaken for garbage or grocery store.

For children who are desperate for reading success, looking for words in the world and encouraging them to read “EXIT,” “PUSH,” “BUS STOP” and “LIFEGUARD” can be a real confidence builder.

City Signs at Amazon.com

City Signs at Amazon.ca

When you go out with your child, take a camera with you. Take pictures of environmental print. When you get home, help your child to make a book to read. You can be sure he will be excited to show off his ‘new words’ to Grandma or Grandpa.

Food packaging and pictures from advertisements are more great sources of words to read. Work with your child to put together a collage or scrapbook to read and enjoy.

Environmental Print - Great for Beginning Readers - Storytime Standouts shares Toys

Environmental Print - Great for Beginning Readers - Storytime Standouts shares Books

Our free Environmental Print printables for young children

image of PDF icon  Environmental Print 1

image of PDF icon  Environmental Print 2










There are some fabulous resources online, here are some of our favourites

Sharon MacDonald’s page about environmental print.

Mrs. Horner’s Environmental Print Alphabet (PDF)

Environmental Print Games – including Bingo from Canada’s National Adult Literacy Database

Read Write Think – From Stop Signs to the Golden Arches: Environmental Print

Logos from GoodLogo.com

Candy Bar Wrapper Image Archive

We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Environmental Print Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Environmental Print for New Readers on Pinterest.



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3 Comments on “Environmental Print – Great for Beginning Readers”

  1. Tammy Treadway

    Awesome site and information! If I have commented here, will I be signed up to receive your newletter automatically??

  2. Tammy Treadway

    Awesome site!! This is so helpful to know where to get environmental print information. It is so hard to find!! Thanks!!

  3. Carolyn Hart

    Thanks for commenting Tammy,
    When you submit comments, you are given a choice with respect to the newsletter. If you aren’t sure whether you signed up for the newsletter, please leave another comment and check the newsletter sign up box.

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