Are you Creating a Print Rich Environment in your classroom?
Friends, Followers, and Readers of Kindergarten Chaos, please welcome today’s guest poster, Sasha. Sasha believes creating a Print Rich Environment is important in every classroom regardless of the grade level and is here to share that important information today! Welcome Sasha!
In a preschool classroom an engaging alphabet such as the one above is a necessary component of a print rich environment. For this age group picture representations of the letter or word helps children construct meaning to the print. My 4 year old is currently obsessed with how to spell things even though she cannot spell anything other than her name. It was this curiosity that inspired me to create these labels for her toys below.
In my kindergarten classroom, I construct a skeleton of the print rich environment before school starts. I created my back to school poster bundle so my students can have engaging & colorful posters with real pictures in the classroom. This bundle includes an alphabet, number line, color words and shapes. Each poster features real pictures and are labeled with the corresponding word. The alphabet has consonants with blue borders and vowels with red ones to help students visually distinguish them. The number line includes each number represented in 4 ways: number form, word form, pictorially and in a ten frame. Color words are all bordered in their appropriate color and have either an animal or flower of that color. The shapes posters contain real pictures of each shape that are framed in their appropriate shape.
Click the picture to see it in my store.
Once the students arrive in my class. We work together to build our word wall. For the first 26 days of school, we add one letter a day to word wall. Students brainstorm with me words that start with that letter as I write them on a chart paper that is labeled with that letter. The first words we add are any names that start with the letter. Children whose name starts with the letter of the day get their picture taken so we can add them to our word wall. After school I print out pictures that match the words the children gave me. The next day before I introduce the next letter children help me cut and paste the words I’ve printed and they are added to our chart. If you are artistically inclined you can draw the pictures instead. This chart stays up until January. In January, I expect my students to use invented spelling in their writing so they no longer need the pictorial chart. In its place we make a word wall that contains words by subject like the one below. As with the other chart I do my best to represent the words pictorially so children understand.
Another activity that my students loved was sharing the pen to make a list of words they could read. Each student got to write at least one word on our chart. They were all so proud of themselves! In primary grades, a print rich environment acts as a springboard to help students learn to read.
In intermediate grades a print rich environment is a springboard for vocabulary development. Below is a chart used in a 4th grade class.
Students matched words to their definitions. In the intermediate grades the focus of learning how to read shifts to reading to learn. So our print rich environment looks different than the primary grades. The main focus is now the use of vocabulary to enrich their language to use in academic subjects. Since it’s impossible to teach every word meaning to a child, the children in these grades learn vocabulary strategies such as prefix and suffix to make meaning of words. Many of these little words are in our everyday environment such as preschool, automobile and telephone. By pointing out the meaning of these words children are learning that meaning is all around them. In the classroom, to foster this natural curiosity children are encourage to jot down everyday things they use or see and explore their meaning by identifying the prefix or suffix in the word. Throughout the year, children bring items where these words are display and in an index card they break down the word and write its meaning. This is a fun way to learn and explore meaning in our everyday surroundings and this is what we know as a print rich environment.
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