Posts Tagged ‘environmental print in picture books’

Reading Doesn’t Have to Involve a Book…

Posted on July 25th, 2014 by Jody


Storytime Standouts' Guest Contributor Explains Reading Doesn't Have to Involve a BookOn an average day, you might feel like there are too many things that need to be done to stop, sit down, and read. There is no doubt that reading books and enjoying reading are immeasurable necessities in life. However, sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in a day. That doesn’t mean you can’t fit reading in, around, or between.

1. Cook with your children

It’s more than just reading a recipe. Encourage them to do this, yes, but it also allows for you and your child to converse about tastes, amounts, ingredients, and so much more. While making pasta sauce with my daughters the other night, we didn’t follow a recipe, but we talked. Oral language is incredibly important. Listening to and following instructions, asking questions, and completing tasks are all part of cooking even the simplest of meals. Take time to do this with your children.

2. Instructions

My daughters, who both love to read, often come to me and ask how to do something (like a new game) or what something is. My response is generally, “you can read”. Reading, interpreting, and applying directions is a skill. A necessary skill. If your child looks at the directions and then passes them off to you (as I often do to my husband), get them to read them. Ask them what they are being asked. They will need this skill in the classroom for directions as simple as “write your name at the top” to how to complete an exam.

3. Comics

My youngest daughter has fallen in love with Archie. This brings me great joy because it is one of my favourite memories of being a child. I’ve had parents, in the past, who worry about their child picking up comics versus chapter books. If they’re reading, they’re building fluency and fostering their enjoyment for the task. Don’t stop this– encourage it. It is very fun to listen to your child laugh when they actually get a joke that is in print.

4. Signs and other environmental print

On long car rides, we pull out the iPods (and to be clear– a long car ride to me is from Chilliwack to Langley- I’m a bit of a wimp), but around town or anything under a half an hour, the kids go without. Generally, they’ll bring books with them but we also encourage them to read the signs and pay attention to their surroundings. Okay, maybe my husband encourages our children more strongly than others might, since I get lost quite easily. My children often ask me if I know where I’m going. Most of the time, I do. But, it’s pretty cool to have them recognize landmarks, signs, familiar areas and say, “that signs says…”. Things we, as adults, take for granted might be foreign to kids. Ask them if they know what all of the symbols mean when they’re posted. Ask them if they know what it means when a sign says 42K.

5. TV

Yes. I’m advocating television. I truly believe that your children can watch a huge amount of television and STILL love to read. I see proof of it every single day. Reading the TV guide, an episode summary, or the words that pop up onto the screen further encourage your child’s reading abilities. It all counts. Should they just read the TV guide? Probably not. The key with television, I find, is to talk to them about what they see and what they read. Another great way to improve fluency is Karaoke. Regardless of their singing ability, reading the words as they scroll along the top of the screen, while trying to sing them in unison, is hard to do. Try it with a song you don’t know and see how hard it is to match the beat, the words, and the your voice.

Regardless of how you get them reading, it is about more than books. You absolutely cannot underestimate the power of conversation with any of these activities, including reading a book. Oral language deepens and enhances our understanding of the world around us and, for children, expressing their thoughts and questions is a huge part of building their confidence and establishing connections. So, if you don’t have time for a book, there are words everywhere, all around us– improvise.

Truck by Donald Crews – an almost wordless picture book

Posted on June 23rd, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at an almost wordless picture book, Truck by Donald Crews

Truck created by Donald Crews
Almost wordless picture book published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

When my boys were young, books about trucks and other large vehicles were enormously popular with them. I don’t know how many times we read Truck Song by Diane Siebert and Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry. Anything with more than four wheels had incredible appeal. Road construction was similarly exciting and stopping to watch an excavator or a paving crew could become the highlight of our day!

Truck tells us the story of a large, red semi trailor truck that is transporting a load of bicycles. The distinctive vehicle leaves one city, rumbling through a tunnel and eventually travelling overnight. Miserable weather and other trucks accompany the red semi trailor filled with bicycles to a rural highway. Children will love the busy interchange and the foggy roadway leading up to a bridge and the approach to another city.

Young transportation enthusiasts will enjoy “reading” the roadsigns, learning about direction and examing the other vehicles as they follow the big read truck on its journey.

Highly recommended for truck lovers ages three and up.

Truck was as ALA Notable Children’s Book and a Caldecott Honor Book. It is available in a variety of formats including board book.

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Our interlined paper with trucks

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids- Trucks

Truck theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Truck at

Truck at

Environmental Print – It’s Everywhere!

Posted on January 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


City Signs by Zoran Milich

In today’s Beginning to Read class we read City Signs. This 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 unmistakeable: ambulance, ice cream, life guard, horses. Other words are somewhat trickier: litter and supermarket both challenged the group I was with this afternoon.

For children who are desperate for reading success, looking for environmental print and encouraging them to read “EXIT,” “PUSH,” “BUS STOP” and “STARBUCKS” can be a real confidence builder.

Our free #1 Environmental Print printable for young children

image of PDF icon  Environmental Print 1

Our free #2 Environmental Print printable for young children

image of PDF icon  Environmental Print 2

City Signs at

City Signs at

Toy Shop

For further information about enjoying environmental print with young readers and a look at my photographs of environmental print, please follow this link.

Visit CitiPixBooks - Helping Children See the Urban Environment by Zoran Milich

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