Environmental print is the name given to print that appears with signs, labels, or logos. Children learn to "read" this through paired association - every time you take a box of cereal off the shelf or drive up to a store, you are providing your child with the 'name' of this product or place as he is simultaneously seeking this sign, label, or logo. Environmental print can bridge the connection between letters and meaning and serve as an introduction to reading.
There are many ways we can use environmental print with young children. We incorporate road signs into both outdoor play with bikes and riding toys and microdramatic play (i.e., having small road signs in our block center for small cars and trucks). Environmental print can be incorporated into housekeeping center through the use of small boxes of familiar foods. We can use environmental print to make books (e.g., "What's for breakfast?" with each page consisting of the front panel of a cereal box) or children's favorite restaurants using predictable language (e.g., "Mike's favorite restaurant is Wendy's"). Other ideas include using logos to make a bingo board, matching game, sorting game (e.g., food, store, sign) or simple puzzles.
Using environmental print can build confidence in young children and get them excited about reading.
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