Getting started on creating a print rich environment in your preschool classroom

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on August 26, 2010

in Letter Recognition, Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers, Reading and Writing Readiness

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!


This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Promoting excellence in early childhood education at home and in the preschool classroom!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Annette W August 26, 2010 at 6:47 am

Could you explain when it’s appropriate to transition to lowercase letters? I am not a preschool teacher, but my almost 4 yo knows all the capital letters, so maybe it’s time to use more lowercase with cards and posters we make.

Thanks!

2 Deborah J. Stewart August 26, 2010 at 7:47 am

Hi Annette,
Keep in mind that most of what we read and write is in lower case letters. Formal names, and the words that start a sentence start with capital letters and almost all other words are in lowercase. I say this so you will see why presenting lower case letters should begin early. There are some writing programs that emphasize only lower case letters knowing the capital letters will come naturally and more easily as children progress. I hope this helps:)

3 Annette W August 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I guess in my training (not preschool) it was not truly explained…but I wasn’t teaching such young children either.

4 maryanne August 26, 2010 at 5:20 pm

I bet my kids would enjoy labeling the house this way – can’t hurt to have a print rich home environment, right? =)

5 Deborah J. Stewart August 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Absolutely!

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