Print motivation is a child's interest in and enjoyment of books and reading. This is supported when a child is given the opportunity to choose their own books. Children who have a choice in what books are read to them are more likely to want to learn to read and to keep trying, even when it is hard. Print awareness is the understanding that print and oral language carries meaning. An example of this would be when your child sees the golden arches and knows it’s McDonald’s, without being able to read the word.
To support these skills at Winona Public Library, we have labels in each of our sections that have both words and pictures, so pre-readers are able to figure out what is in that section, even if they don’t know the words quite yet. Being able to discern the characters or topics shelved in the section makes it easier for children to choose their own books to check out. We encourage children to pull books off the shelf, get them in their hands, and really look at them. This may mean more re-shelving for us, but the benefits of autonomy in book selection far outweigh the time it takes to re-shelve a few books.
There are a number of ways you can incorporate these skills in your everyday life. Here are five simple strategies for building both skills:
· When you’re driving or walking around town, point out logos or pictures. Ask your child what they think that image means.
· Write uppercase and lowercase letters on a piece of paper. Have your child draw lines to match each upper and lowercase letter. An easy printable is located at the end of this post.
· Read a book with repetitive or predictable text. Paired with illustrations in picture books, they will be able to help read based on the repetition as well as the pictures in front of them.
· Create signs for every room in the house together. Whenever they enter that room, they’ll begin to associate the letters in the word to the place.
· Read a wordless picture book to have them tell you a story all on their own.
The joy a child feels when they are able to connect the dots and figure out a new word is the first step on a journey to developing a lifelong love of reading. Children’s reading skills are developed throughout their lives by the caregivers and adults who surround them. Show your child that you enjoy reading time as much as they do. For more information or guidance, please visit the Winona Public Library. Our friendly staff is always ready to help you navigate the path of early literacy (and beyond).
Use one of these free handouts to practice this skill at home:
Sight Word Scavenger Hunt: Cut out the pictures, hide them around the room, and have your child check off each word they find.