What is meant by the term environmental print?
Environmental print is print found in, well, your environment! The familiar shapes, colors and images of signs and lables help your child recognize and read some of their very first words. When your child sees those golden arches, they know it says McDonalds. This is very powerful for a young reader! Make a point of talking about it whenever you’re out in the car, at the grocery store, at Target or anywhere!
Now that I know, what can I do?
Collect environmental print as a family. It can be a ton of fun for the family to collect environmental print together. You can work together to find an example for every letter. If you get stuck, visit Hubbard’s Cupboard for some examples. Save those candy wrappers at Halloween time, too!
Make a book. Lots of our environmental print relates to food. Collect the fronts of cereal boxes, can labels and any other food label you can get your hands on. Then have your child glue these to a piece of paper. Make a page that says, The (family name)’s like to eat … and place this in the front. Staple the pages together and you have a new bedtime story!
Sort. Sort your environmental print by letter name, beginning sounds, ending sounds, syllables, family favorites, you name it.
Take photos. Make it a family outing one day to go and take pictures of signs like stop, yield and exit. Then you can make them into a book, sort them, make doubles and play memory, the possibilities are endless!
Puzzles. Take the fronts of food boxes or enlarged pictures of environmental print and cut them into pieces. Have your child reassemble them.
“I Can Read” bag. Have your child decorate a brown paper lunch sack. Then put pictures of environmental print in it that your child can read. Your child will feel empowered when they show you, other family members and friends the words they can read. Be sure to add to this bag periodically.
Make your own. Make your own environmental print by labeling items in the house. Have your child design the labels and then post them on the item. Increasing the print in your home will boost those early literacy skills.