Understanding that printed words have meaning is an important reading skill. This skill is called “print awareness.” Print awareness is when a child realizes, “I see letters!” and then “I see words!” when looking around his or her world.
Some important print awareness skills are:
- print provides the reader with information
- print is read from left to right
- print is read from top to bottom
- letters are used to form words
- spaces appear between words
- words are on paper, in books and on many things in our everyday environment (like signs and menus)
To help your child learn about print awareness…read to them (of course!) and look for print words in their world. Here are some books that will help you and your child find words as you go through your day together.
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You might wonder what’s the use of a wordless book for children. Does it even qualify to be a book if there are no words in it? It sure does! Pictures have meaning. The ability to look at pictures and understand from them what is going on is an important skill for small children to practice. Looking at wordless or nearly wordless picture books helps your child acquire several skills even before he or she begins to recognize letters or words.
In Dude! by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat, a platypus and a beaver have a very close encounter with a shark. How many ways can you say one word, “Dude!” and mean different things? Believe it or not, books like Dude! that have few or no words actually build vocabulary. How? Because your child will talk while looking at the pictures, point, and ask what things are. Your child will also listen to you describe what you see. Dude! is a perfect chance to say, “That isn’t just a BIG shark in the picture, it’s an ENORMOUS one!” Now your child has a new word to use when something isn’t just big, but really, REALLY big.
Listed below are several more wordless or nearly wordless picture books that are great fun to share with children. Ask your child to “tell” the story from the pictures. Before you turn a page ask, “what do you think is going to happen next?” You will discover that a lot is going on inside that little brain while the pages are turning!