After you have been around the field of early childhood education for a time you will start to hear the words print rich environment.
A print rich environment can be simply defined as a classroom where by young children are given many different opportunities to interact with many different forms of print. One way, among many, to introduce preschoolers to the reading and writing process is by giving them many opportunities to view print at home or at school in ways that are meaningful to them.
In this classroom, the teacher has created simple labels to identify furniture and other items that the children use in their daily routine.
You will notice that each of the words are in lower case letters. Since the words stand alone and are not a part of a sentence, we want to present the word in lower case form.
As children interact with the materials, furniture, and each other in the classroom, they will see the printed words often. By having the words placed strategically next to or on an item that the word represents, children will be given greater opportunity to associate the words to the objects.
Another important part of creating the print rich environment, is to display the names of each child. Notice that because a name is a formal word, the first letter is now capitalized and all other letters are in lower case.
Placing words on bulletin boards is another excellent way to build a print rich environment. Words that are used as titles, names, days of the week, months of the year, and so forth should start with a capital letter followed by lower case letters.
Where possible, try to place the words on objects that children use and interact with frequently and keep the words at the child’s eye level. But don’t over label, a label on every chair, toy, book, or corner in your classroom is not necessary.
Posters are another way to add to your print rich environment.
The print rich environment has many components and can be built a little at a time. To learn more about what else you can do to promote literacy in your classroom, you may enjoy reading this article!