Do you have students who are not familiar with how to hold a book or really have a grasp of print concepts? While it’s not super common, when you see the signs of a student who needs support in this area, it’s important to address it right away. These are skills you don’t want to overlook even though they may seem so simple.
In this training, I’m going to share with you the five components of print concepts that students need to understand in order to become successful readers.
Concepts of Text
Students need to begin with the understanding that all text carries meaning. A map, a menu, and a children’s book all contain text, but each of the purposes of those pieces of text is very different.
Concepts of Book
Kids need the right way to hold a book in the correct direction. They need to be able to open to turn the pages in the correct direction too. With any book they read, students should be able to identify the front cover, the back cover, as well as an author and illustrator.
The easiest way to teach these skills, in the beginning, is through using big books. It is very easy to examine each of these elements with big books and include students in identifying each of these things.
Additionally, when it comes to print concepts students have to be confident in the ability to turn the page and where to begin reading. They need to know this process starts on the left side of the page and continues until they reach the end of the page. After that, they need to be able to identify where to continue reading. Once again, big books are the best way to point out concepts of print, especially for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
Next, students need to identify the mechanical features of print concepts. Students need to understand the purpose of the building blocks they are working with in text. Sentences are made up of words and words are made up of letters. It’s important to teach kids identifying factors such as the fact that a sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark. Another feature of text that students should be able to recognize is that there are spaces in between words.
The last component of print concepts we want to ensure students master is alphabetic knowledge. A lot of this practice is developed through memorization. You can do this by singing alphabetic songs. You could even make a path of individual letters on flashcards or paper. Distributive practice charts are also super helpful for practicing this skill.
For more support in this area, check out this training: How to Teach Letter Recognition.
Using Print Concepts to Support Struggling Readers
So while these skills may seem easy and basic, it isn’t for those who haven’t been exposed to books from an early age. The good news is that these five concepts of print are things that you can teach really quickly with resources like big books and quick fun activities that will reinforce these concepts.