Little ones are ‘readers’ long before they can even speak. As soon as a child interacts with a book they are developing concepts about print. This means they have an understanding that visual and written texts convey meaning.
I even make it a priority to ensure my eleven month old son is exposed to books each day in some way. Children are constantly making connections and developing their understandings. For the most part, shared reading with younger children should be about developing a love of reading. However, there are some key teaching points that will serve them well. It can be useful to find ‘teachable moments’ in some of your shared reading experiences (Not all of them! Some story time should just be about the joy of sharing a book!)
Concepts about print need to be established for students to gain confidence as beginning readers. Classroom teachers will assess your child’s understanding of concepts about print early on. This is because it is CRUCIAL that students have a solid understanding of these concepts as a beginning reader. Students that lack confidence and independence when interacting with books often make slower progress as they begin to attempt to learn to read.
These concepts are best developed during shared book experiences – just 5 minutes a day with your child can make a HUGE difference.
Where to begin ? There are many concepts to address!
Front, back, top, bottom, page, which page to start on, what is writing, what is a picture, when do we turn a page… Model and discuss each concept during shared reading. As ‘expert’ readers we can take for granted just how important an understanding of these things will be for our little ones as they become readers.
Here is a list of some of the concepts you can expect your child to develop an understanding of:
Finding the front cover
Line and page sequence
What a letter is
What a word is
Where the first letter of a word is
Upper and lower case letters
The function of simple punctuation (full stop, question mark, quotation marks/speech marks)
*beginning readers often lack a clear understanding of what the difference between a letter and a word is. This is a good place to start when assessing your child’s current level of understanding.
Simple activities to support Concepts about print for beginning readers at home:
Read every day from a variety of texts.
Explicitly demonstrate how to read a book – comment on the way you are turning pages, where to begin reading, what the illustration is inferring etc
Point to individual words during shared reading.
Create labels with post it notes and label objects around the house.
Develop a ‘word wall’ of known words – you can create this with post it notes, magnetic letters on the fridge or flash cards
Go outside on a ‘print hunt’. Point out signs etc and discuss
It is very important that the foundations for reading are well established. For support in best supporting your child, please contact our Director today. Lena would be happy to discuss your child’s current needs and learning style and explain the ways in which working one on one with our tutors may benefit your child.