Why Is Print Knowledge an essential area of focus for young children?
Emergent literacy instruction focuses on print knowledge because it is a precursor to reading and helps children understand the alphabetic principle. A strong foundation in print knowledge is also associated with achievement in decoding, spelling, and reading comprehension in kindergarten or later.
Children’s reading development depends on learning the alphabetic principle, or the understanding that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds.
Children learn these relationships and apply them during the process of reading and writing words.
While children are learning letter names and sounds, their phonological awareness (the understanding that speech can be broken down into parts and the ability to manipulate those parts) also continues to develop.
Print knowledge includes the letter names, letter sounds, and concepts of print.
There are many ways educators can include print instruction throughout the day. Some strategies include:
- Explicit Instruction. I Do, We Do, You Do.
- The teacher explains and models the skill or concept.
- Then the teacher provides guided practice with scaffolding (prompts, corrective feedback).
- Finally, the children engage in independent practice and cumulative review.
- Implicit Instruction is for children to practice a skill or concept that has previously been explicitly taught, with less scaffolding than explicit instruction. After the letter N is explicitly taught, practice identifying it during read-alouds.
- Incidental Instruction takes advantage of teachable moments. At snack time, ask, “Can anyone find the letter N on your wrapper?”
Interested in learning more about print instruction's benefits and classroom strategies? Register for one of the following courses today at H&H Child Care Training Center (ChildCareEd).