As the children are gathered on the rug after our storytime, I ask them if they can read the words that I am showing to them. The examples I show are of environmental print. These are frequently seen product words that could be cut from a magazine, cereal box, newspaper, etc. I usually start to collect the materials for this project well in advance. Parents are always willing to send in environmental print words, too, if you give them this environmental print letter.
Take a look at this word. Does it look familiar to you? It should. This is something we eat in class quite often. If you think you know this environmental print word, blow it into your hand. When I say release, tell me what you think. Ready, release. It is Cheez-it! Let's try some More environmental print. Ready, release. It is Lego--just like the toy. Sometimes, the words will be tricky, so we will sound them out. Together, we can say each letter of the word and talk about the sound that it makes. Today at the word work station, you will be building sight words from the environmental print.
At the word work station, I will sit down with the students and show them some more examples of environmental print.
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, set out a supply of environmental print. Use the packaging labels as mini-signs to create another sight-word 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. You will need a list of your current Sight words, paper, scissors and glue.
At a table, I call over my first small group. Children, tell me the words that you read on the labels. Can you tell me the first letter in the word? How about the last letter? What sound does it make? Look carefully at all the letter to be sure you are reading it correctly. Now I am going to say a word. See if you can find it . Again, make sure you look carefully at all the letters because several of the environmental print words begin with the same letter.
See this word that I have chosen? Can you identify the name of the first letter in the word? Let's say the sound that the letter makes as well. You are going to be making sight words from our word list by cutting apart the environmental print words. For example, if you wanted to spell "look", what letters would we have to find? We would start with an "l", then two "o's" and then a "k". By knowing the letters and their sounds, you will be able to read the words that you are making. Glue the sorted letters onto a sheet of construction paper to spell out the word. See how I spelled "Look"?
Now it is your turn to try.
When the children have completed their list of "scrapping" work, they give their paper to a friend at the station and ask the friend to read the words. The groupings are determined by ability levels set up by previous assessments, so the children should be able to read the words that are set for that group. If the children can read each others' words, then generally the words are spelled correctly. The children enjoy the opportunity to check each others' word and be the "teacher". The adult at the station can take notes as to how the children responded on the small group documentation form.