Labels around the home for print awareness

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Have you ever wondered why early childhood centres have so many labels? Yes, it’s often for organisation but it is also a fantastic way to expose young children to print.

Before your child can learn to read or write, they need to understand what print is all about. For little ones, this means knowing the right way to hold a book, that books are read from front to back and that those squiggles on the page have meaning.

What can you do?

  • Point to the words as you read from left to right. Also point to the spaces that separate the words.
  • Make comments about words you read and match these to pictures or the meaning of the story. For example, if the book features the word ‘bang’ in large letters, comment on this — "Look at this word, it says bang, that’s a loud noise, let’s see if we can make a loud bang."
  • Talk about letters, words, spaces and sentences. Children need to understand that letters make different sounds, these sounds make words, words together make a sentence, and these words are separated by spaces. 
  • For little children, add pictures to help them understand the label.
  • Point out print when you see it — on signs, at the shops or at the service station. Talking about the first letter in words is a good place to start. Practice the sounds letters make when you point to the matching letter.

Your child will soon become familiar with letter and sounds, and words attached to known objects. Repetition will help them remember how different words and letters look and sound and is an important foundation skill needed before learning to read.

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