With years of reading and understanding the print, we do not understand how difficult it is for a child to make connection between some scribbled lines in a book to actual things in real life.
Imagine how complicated it is for a child to connect the some curvy line like ‘APPLE’ to a real fruit he can taste. This is more difficult for a child than we can ever conceive.
Print awareness is nothing but creating the connection for a child between the printed letters and real words which represent people, objects and places around them. Print awareness during the early preschool years will enhance the evolving literacy skills in your child, allowing smooth transition to school and the formal reading he/she will undergo there.
Where to start
Start by introducing your child to a book. Tell him that the print is always organized in a specific way for reading other than in very few rare languages. The letters should be read always from left to right and from top to bottom. Show them how spaces are left between words to differentiate them from each other.
It is helpful in the earlier years if the printed words are accompanied by pictures or graphics to make them understand it better. Show your child the page numbers and explain what their uses are.
Choose books that have large words which can create an image in your child’s mind.
Though as adults we find all this information too simple even to be mentioned, be assured that it is a complicated learning for your child.
Let your child realize the connection between the printed words and oral language. Moreover, let your child know that the written words carry specific meaning through their arrangement. This is the knowledge that will help your child build his literary knowledge which is going to be a very useful tool in learning. The earlier you create print awareness in your child, the better reader he will become in future.
Choose activities for print awareness
Your child will benefit from activities that will help him create relation between printed or written words and real life objects. Creating a shopping list, making a card for a loved family member, reading signs and many such activities will help your child understand printed words to a great extent.
Once your child is familiar with words and numbers, introduce punctuation marks and other complicated print media for further understanding.
When your child has a well-developed print awareness, he will know several essential points that are necessary to reading and knowledge acquisition. This will make reading an enjoyable experience when he steps into school for formal reading.