Environmental print is the print of everyday life. It is the name given to the print that appears in signs, labels, and logos. Street signs, candy wrappers, and labels on products are other examples of environmental print. For many emergent readers, environmental print helps bridge the connection between letters and first efforts to read.
To prepare for this part of the lesson, gather a supply of environmental print. Use the packaging labels as mini-signs to show to the students in this lesson. Gather together familiar labels the children easily recognize. These labels may include a child's favorite cereal brand, a well-known toy box or even an electronics product manufacturer.
Boys and girls meet me on the classroom rug. How many of you know how to read? Are you sure there are only a few of you? Let me show you something. "Goldfish!" You just told that you can not read, and yet you just told me what the word said on the package. Hmmm... "McDonald's!" See you did it again! How do you know what is in these packages or what the packages say? Next, show the children just the lettering from a snack package. How do they know what these words say?
Let the children share some of their ideas with the class about how they know.
Again, bring out some of the packaging. With the class, take time to look over the pictures, the lettering and the words that are used.
We are going to look again at some of the Environmental print on the packages. Reading a book is just like looking at a box of crackers or other snack item and Reading environmental print. We look at the pictures. We look at the colors and shapes on the page, and we look at the letters we know. Where have you seen the words from the packaging? Are there any sight words that we have practiced on the boxes? As a class, we will be making a take-home book for you to practice your reading from the items that you have brought to school .
You will each get a piece of construction paper and More environmental print that was sent in by your parents. Glue the item to your paper and then practice reading the words in front of you. Then, trade your pages with a friend and then the friend gets to read something new. After the pages have made three or four rotations to different students, I will collect them all, three-hole punch them, and put them inside a report cover. Since there can be only one person taking home the book at a time, I will pull a random selection stick. Whoever's name is pulled, will get to take the book home. This will be a great time to share what you are learning with your family. Take care of the book and bring it back the next day. When you bring the book back, I will check your name off the list and we will let the next person on the list take it home.
The children love to be a part of making the book. I save all the freebie tote bags that I get and use them for my take-home books. I pull one of my random selection sticks to decide who is first to take the book home. I keep track of who has had a turn by putting a class list in the back of the book and checking off the name of the child who has had a turn. I also leave a blank page in the back and ask families to write a comment for the child to share when they bring the book back.
Over the next few weeks, as the book comes to and from school, I will have one of my parent volunteers listen as each child reads the pages to them. I have a few set questions that I will have the parents ask the children about their experiences with the book. If there is no volunteer available, then I will find a few minutes to work with the child so that he/she understands that his/her learning to read is important to the adults around our class.
Generally, the questions are as follows: Which page did you like the best? Can you find the letters in your name on this page? Can you find a capital (uppercase) letter? Can you find a lowercase letter? Do you see any numbers? (This helps to determine if the child can distinguish between letters and numbers.)