Welcome back to our Summer Book Study 2022 with Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard. We are so excited to dive into our book for this round, Know Better, Do Better. Learning and growing as an educator is important for not only ourselves, but for our students too! If you didn’t get a chance to read chapter 1, you can find it here. Otherwise, let’s jump into chapter 2: Concepts of Print.

What are Concepts of Print?

If you have been teaching little learners for awhile, then you are most likely familiar with ‘concepts of print’. But if you are brand new to instructing emergent learners, concepts of print is also known as print awareness. Here is your educator warning, whether you are a veteran or new teacher…don’t assume that students come to your classroom with print awareness. One decline I have noticed over the last few years in early education, is the lack of exposure to books and print concepts. It seems that most little learners have been inundated with technology and that includes digital ‘books’. But this has resulted in children coming into kindergarten and having little to no experience with books and print. Research has proven that one of the most important keys to children acquiring print awareness is to have lots of exposure to books. Actual books. Books that can be held, open and closed, as well as being read to. (pg 22)

How to Teach Concepts of Print

Read Alouds

The simple answer is to read books to your little learners. But don’t just stop there. Introduce each book and ‘think aloud’ as you go over the book features. Students catch on quickly and after several times of me thinking aloud, I can simply point to the spine of the book and ask them to tell me what it is and they can. As chapter 1 talked about, repetition is not a bad thing. Use read-alouds as a time to review book features.

I love to read books that go along with every theme or even standard. I’ve collected an extensive library collection and love to share my book suggestions. You can find them categorized into themes or skills here.

Classroom Library – Read to Self – Read to a Partner

The number one classroom literacy station every teacher should have is a library! Not only does this promote concepts of print and reading, but this gives little learners multiple opportunities to manipulate books and be exposed to a variety of genres and literary texts. You can read more about the library station here and more about how to organize your classroom library here.

Writing Station

The second most important literacy station in a primary classroom is the writing station. Providing materials and opportunities for students to write and illustrate is so valuable to their literacy journey. A designated area and optional tasks encourages little learners to experiment with putting their ideas to print through writing and drawing. Read all about how to create a purposeful writing station here.

Using Environmental Print

Environmental print is everywhere! Our students are used to seeing and identifying the sign for McDonalds, Target, or Netflix. So let’s use that in the classroom and help them practice reading directionality, return sweep, spaces between words, punctuation and a variety of fonts. This can be easily accomplished with environmental print. As you can see from the picture, it is perfect when used in a pocket chart and students have an opportunity to choose their own words, environmental print and even pointer. Using a pointer helps to focus on a multitude of skills. And I even have FREE environmental print for you to download and print for your classroom and little learners here.

Print Concepts Digital Task Card

If you are looking for additional practice of print concepts or even if you want to assess your students on their knowledge, here is a developmentally appropriate digital task card that could be used as a whole group lesson or independent activity or assessment. You can check it out HERE.

Leave your comment below or share on my social media!

And don’t forget to go visit Mr. Greg on The Kindergarten Smorgasboard to read his thoughts on chapter 2!

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