Print Rich Environment

Exposure to reading is very important in the early years of school. Creating a print rich environment (sites like Printivity might prove to be essential if you decide to print booklets for the lil ones) provides opportunities for students to recognize, read and even write these words. Posting words around the room becomes a valuable teaching resource. You will see how student’s reading and vocabulary skills will increase dramatically when the teacher uses this strategy appropriately. Read the list below to see if you supply a variation of print awareness in your classroom.

10 Ways to Create a Print Rich Environment
1. Use student name tags on desks. These tags help children recognize, read and write their own name and their classmate’s names. Make sure to update these desk tags when you change your seating chart.
2. Label classroom objects and furniture. Some examples are door, table, shelf and window. If you are teaching in a dual language classroom, make sure that you label the English word in blue and the Spanish word in red. The color coding goes along with Gomez and Gomez’s dual language models.
3. Classroom centers should also be labeled. This contributes to the feeling of an organized classroom. Parents, administrators and teacher substitutes who walk into your room will be able to find these areas easily. Make sure that the center signs/posters that you use to label your areas also match the center cards that you use in your pocket chart when assigning your daily center rotations.
4. Organize your classroom library center using book basket labels. First, you need to categorize your books. You can put them in groups by theme, subject, author, fiction, non-fiction, nursery rhymes, magazines, reading level, etc. Make sure to provide a visual picture along with the word category. This will help the younger readers find books of interest easier. It also decreases the time it takes for students to return their books to the appropriate book basket.
5. Pocket charts are a great way of displaying print. For example, you can write a poem or nursery rhyme on sentence strips and place them in a pocket chart. The students can read it together during circle time. During center time, the child can practice one to one correspondence by using a pointer to read that same poem.
6. Use large writing tablets for your shared writing activities. Keep this writing available, so that students may refer back to it to find letters, words, spaces, punctuation, etc.
7. Post your rules and procedures. This is a great visual reminder for students, but they will also begin to recognize and understand these words in context.
8. Criteria charts and rubrics are required by many districts. Visuals should be used whenever possible.
9. Word banks provide new vocabulary and concepts. You can incorporate these new words in your mini-lessons. Example: Use this vocabulary to teach beginning sounds, syllables, nouns, etc.
10. Post your class schedule. It will keep the students and you on track throughout the day.
-Lidia R. Barbosa
Kid’s Reading Activities