Concepts of Print for Early Readers

     Reading Four

Once children are interested in reading, and as a parent you are continuing to read to them on a nightly basis,  begin to teach the Concepts of Print which we began in the previous session, Reading Three. Concepts of Print are technical skills about print that are directly related to how reading works. In previous articles we explored the importance of language and experiences as well as some concepts of print. In this article we will continue to look at a range of concepts that will  ensure that your child begins reading with all the knowledge and skills he needs to be successful.

Once the front, back and spine of the book is named, children begin to learn where to start reading print. Even though it sounds so simple,  make sure that  children realise that the left page must be read before the right page.Then they learn the direction of reading, which is  from the left of the page to the right of the page and then continuing to line by line  to the bottom of the page.

 Following this step is recognition of the concept of space between and around the words. This is really important and will require explicit explanation. Children learn that a space divides the words from one another just as spoken words are divided. The space between words isolates the words so that they can be read singularly.

Once the space is identified, children begin to recognise words.They start to notice that some words are long and some are short in length. They can count the number of letters in the words to see what words are the longest. Remember that children may not know the meaning of the word, letter. It needs to be taught.

  A letter can be described as a shape that is seen with the eyes. One of these shapes is a letter and two or more shapes put together are called words, BUT sometimes one shape can be called a letter and a word!!! Yes, think of "I" !!! This information may seem trivial or basic, however, the fact is, that if the language of reading isn’t known,confusion reigns.

 There are a number of concepts that require this indepth understanding that needs to be repeated regularly so that eventually, the children won’t even have to remember the meaning, it will become part of their understanding and their expressive language.

Once words are identified, the concepts of first and last need to be taught and consolidated.Use every day experiences to aid this learning and to generalise the understanding to other situations. An example would be to line up toy cars and name the first and the last. Use the language of every day situations and this focus will consolidate the concepts.

Our final three pieces of knowledge are related to punctuation. Recognition of a full stop, a question mark and a capital letter. A full stop is likened to a breath that needs to be taken when we speak. The full stop keeps the ideas together in a sentence and ends that sentence. A question mark requires an answer and a capital letter only needs to be known as the large letter at the beginning of a sentence. Have children put one hand at the beginning of a sentence and the other hand at the end of the sentence to isolate sentences and show that they comprehend.

Please don’t teach all the roles of the capital letter….. children will learn these one at a time throughout the reading program. It is best to consolidate while moving along rather than racing forward without the knowledge being stored in long term memory. Now, we are really moving !!! 

In Thursday’s Blogg, I will be discussing the greatest predictor of reading success. Do you know what this is?

If anyone requires practical examples please comment at the bottom of the Blogg and I will answer these questions as a separate Blogg. We can all help each other in a community of care.

Ann Foster

 Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent in providing back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas.Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringing into action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results. Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above.Her programs are tried and proven and bring clarity out of chaos. Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto dreams.