Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What is Environmental Print?

I'm sure you've heard all the terms but perhaps you are like many other teachers who get them mixed up now and again. Let's review the differences between print awareness, print-rich, concepts of print and more.  

environmental print awareness
Environmental print awareness is the ability to recognize signs, symbols, and words that occur frequently in the environment.  It seems to develop through children’s natural engagements with their environments through discovery. Environmental print awareness is demonstrated when children recognize familiar symbols and words, and display understanding and knowledge that print carries meaning. Environmental print is a sample measure of pretending to read, and pretending to read is a component of emergent reading.  It develops in all children from literate cultures. It t is unclear if this skill develops at a specific age though it is typical to notice this skill sometime after the age of two. Children are generally able to recognize environmental print before they are able to read print in books. Environmental print is a developmental accomplishment of literacy acquisition. Environmental print awareness has not been found to be strongly related to later reading.  Reading words in the environment may be the lowest level of a hierarchy of word knowledge.
print-rich environment
In print-rich environments young children are continuously interacting with, organizing, and analyzing the meanings of visible print. Children do develop concepts and construct knowledge about the functions and uses of print through engagement with print in everyday or natural environments. Adults can affect children’s environmental print learning in a play setting.   “Reading” environmental print is highly dependent on the context and a set of cues, including people, place, and purpose. Opportunities to engage in environmental print events are not equally available for all children. The authors purposely conducted an environmental print. Children who grow up in a print-rich environment seem to learn that print is different from other kinds of visual patterns in their environment. They also learn that print is print across any variety of physical media and notice that print is all around them in different categories, such as books, newspapers, lists, and price tags, or on signs, boxes, television, or fabric. Soon, children explore the details of print in their  environment—on signs, on cereal packages, and in television advertisements.
print awareness
Parents may observe their child’s awareness that written language carries meaning when their child points to something and asks what it says. They notice that print is used by adults in different ways. Children quickly realize that print symbolizes language and holds information. Print awareness is related to reading achievement.  Print awareness focuses on discrete skills that children would presumably learn through multiple interactions via instruction.  Young children progress through various hypotheses about written language until they develop ideas similar to those of older children. Children are not passive learners of language but active participants in the language of their environment and society. . Despite young children’s lack of understanding about the symbolic nature of print, children know that print has meaning.
concepts of print
Even the children with limited exposure to print had accumulated knowledge about print before they came to school. Children learn concepts of print through engagement in a print-rich environment.  Concepts about print includes print awareness that: print carries a message;  but also more specific skills.  For example, there are conventions of print such as directionality (left to right, top to bottom), differences between letters and words, distinctions between upper and lower case, punctuation; and books have some common characteristics. Concepts of print are how print and text “work”; how books and other written words function to create meaning, and it includes an understanding of writing conventions such as punctuation and capitalization. Concepts of print are essentially the basics of reading, and without mastering these skills, a student will not be able to become a successful reader.  They can be viewed as the beginning stepping stones in reading acquisition that are needed to be able to read effectively later in life.  Most instruction assumes the knowledge of concepts of print, so mastery of these skills is essential to learn later reading concepts (Duke, 2008)
emergent literacy
Emergent reading consists of a set of skills and processes referred to as outside-in processes, defined as children’s understanding of the context or knowledge of the world in which the writing they are trying to read occurs. It can be referred to as reading readiness.  It relies on developmental learning.  Some concepts of print can develop as early as the toddler years, while others may still be being mastered through elementary school.  Some are more basic than others, so are able to be learned earlier.  For example, a young baby may be able to turn the pages of a book from left to right, but a student may not know that a comma means a pause in a sentence until taught so in early elementary grades.  As children are developing concepts of print, they may be forming assumptions about how print works.  These may not be accurate assumptions, but they show how children actively form theories about concepts of print.

early literacy
Often overlapping with emergent literacy, early literacy can be defined as the components of instruction that become the building blocks for later reading and writing. It builds on the prior knowledge of language use and print awareness and begins the cognitive processing of skills including:
·      Vocabulary
·      Print motivation, or a child's interest in and enjoyment of books
·      Listening comprehension
·      Narrative Skills, being able to understand and tell stories, and describe things, are important for children being able to understand what they are learning to read.
·      Letter Knowledge
·      Phonological Awareness


Duke, N.K. (2008). Literacy Achievement Research Center (LARC). LARC Project: Informational Comprehension Assessment in the Primary Grades: Concepts of Comprehension Assessment (COCA). Retrieved October 14, 2013, from http://literacyreference.edublogs.org/references/
Horner, S. L. (2005). Categories of environmental print: all logos are not created equal. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(2), 113-119. doi:10.1007/s10643-005-0029-z
Kassow, D. (2006).  Environmental print awareness in young children.  Talaris Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, Vol .1(3)
Kirkland, (2006).  What we now about environmental print and young children.  Integrating Environmental Print Across the Curriculum, PreK-3.  Chapter 1. 


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