When you walk into an early childhood classroom you know immediately what is being taught and learned—you see it in the classroom's signs, labels, word walls, graphs, books and other printed materials. Print-rich classrooms are inviting, lively, colorful rooms that focus on the students' reading and writing skills.
Print-rich classrooms help early readers to:
- Recognize print in their surroundings
- Understand that print carries meaning
- Know that print is used for many purposes
- Experience print through exploratory writing
You can tackle some of those key literacy objectives by creating a print-rich environment at home. Here are some helpful tips.
Choose a room.
- Start with a manageable space, such as a child’s bedroom or playroom.
- Hang posters, calendars, and bulletin boards that display words and numbers.
- Label objects and areas of the room. Either hand printed or computer generated labels will do—just make sure the letters are large enough for your child to see (I use a size 72 font on the computer). Label anything that children see and use frequently in their lives: toy boxes, markers, blocks, scissors, etc.
- Label furniture and doors, sticking labels at the child's eye-level.
Include print in dramatic play.
- Plan a tea party with invitations, envelopes, stationery and mailboxes.
- Start a restaurant, complete with menus, recipes, play money, food cartons, marked measuring spoons and cookbooks.
- Begin a family newsletter, using newspapers, magazines, dictionaries and comic books.
Create a print-rich room in your home and you’ll see an increased involvement in reading and writing activities.