2What is Print Awareness? A student with print awareness understands and knowsthe forms and functions of printthat print is a type of communicationprinted words stand for spoken wordsElements of print awareness includeFunctions of print (i.e. print is used for different purposes)Conventions of print (i.e. text is read from left to right)Book conventions (i.e. books have a title and an author)Print awareness is “a child’s earliest introduction to literacy”
3Why teach/be mindful of print awareness? Print awareness is the foundation of a student’s reading and writing ability. Without it, he/she is less likely to become a successful reader.Generally print awareness does not develop on its own. It emerges through the guidance of an adult who regularly points out conventions and features of print.A child’s awareness of print has been used to predict his/her future success in all areas of reading.
4When to focus on Print Awareness Generally these skills are learned in preschool and kindergarten. It is essential that during these years, print awareness is taught explicitly and is a main goal of curriculum.Formally assess print awareness during kindergarten three times a year (fall, winter, spring).Informally assess students in kindergarten during instruction to determine students who may need added instruction.Increase the introduction of print awareness skills for advanced students.Decrease the pace for struggling students. Increase instructional time and monitor closely within the first 6 months of school.
5How to Teach and Assess Print Awareness Use print referencing: using verbal and nonverbal cues to direct a student’s attention to conventions of printUse big books or other books where print is a main featureExplicitly point out the references you are teaching.Teach only 3-5 references during one lesson to ensure student enjoyment of text.How to assessUse formal screening or diagnostic testsInformally assess through observationInformally assess by asking students to point to or show aspects such as parts of a book, where to start reading, a word and a space, and how many words in a sentence.Assess in a quiet, comfortable environment.
6Some things to Keep in Mind How to promote print awarenessCreate a print-rich environmentProvide plenty of read-aloud experiencesUse print-referencing cues in shared storybook readingComponents of a print awareness lessonTalking about books (ex. cover, title, author, illustrator)Text DirectionalityConcept of a wordContinuous questioning to ensure students understanding of the references/concept taught
7ConclusionPrint awareness is a critical skill in developing a student’s reading abilities.Since it does not develop on its own, print awareness needs to be an essential part of early-literacy instruction.Provide verbal and nonverbal cues to direct students’ attention to conventions of print.Provide a print rich environment that exposes students to various types and uses of print.Read aloud and involve your students in discussions about print concepts.