Tools for Helping Emergent Readers Master the Concepts of Print
It's never too early to start literacy activities with your emergent readers. Amanda Morgan of the blog Not Just Cute suggests that every successful reader must first master the concepts of print. Morgan reminds us that the important concepts of print include:
- Letters are building blocks. When combined, they make words.
- Words have meaning; they represent objects and ideas.
- Proper directionality includes reading from left to right and top to bottom.
The following are her recommendations for helping your emergent readers master these concepts.
- Be cognizant during story time. Point out each book's title and author, use your finger or a pointer to follow the flow of words on the page as you read, and demonstrate important concepts like how to hold the book and the direction in which pages turn.
- Be intentional about words in the classroom environment. Label familiar items (e.g. "Clock", "Lockers", etc.) around the classroom. Because of consistent exposure and their associations, "these are often the first words children can 'read' by sight, because they become meaningful and familiar". Along with labeling, try creating a word wall or word binder to draw attention to print in everyday life (See Morgan's full post for further instructions).
- Practice name recognition. Label individual work areas and art work when possible, make use of nametags, provide opportunities for signing-in during activities, utilize classroom lists and charts, play name games, etc. These activities will show how words are built (by adding on, left to right) and are useful for recognizing differences in sounds, lengths, etc.
Be sure to read Morgan's entire post for other great information and ideas!
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