Environmental Print – 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).
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 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.
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.
Our free Environmental Print printables for young children
There are some fabulous resources online, here are some of our favourites
Read Write Think – From Stop Signs to the Golden Arches: Environmental Print
We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Environmental Print Board on Pinterest