At home, at day care, at preschool, provide print-rich environments, including access to high-quality books , writing materials, and toys like alphabet blocks and alphabet refrigerator magnets. High-quality books are different for young children of different ages. For example, it is best to use cloth or cardboard books for babies because they will chew on the ones they like.

In the daily routine of life, point out and read print in the environment—such as words on a restaurant menu, labels on food containers, posters on a bus, and signs out on the street. Remember that, at early ages, children may not notice that what you are reading is the letters, not the entire sign or label. Help them notice how important small differences in the letters and words are, even when the general label or sign is the same. For example, when they pay attention to a product like ice cream with a favorite logo, help them notice the differences in flavors indicated by words on the label.

Label some of the important things in the child’s universe. To make it fun, explain what you are doing and get the child involved in making artwork on labels for items like videos, books, and art supplies. Be sure to put up some signs that use the child’s name, for example, “Marie’s Room,” “Sam’s Treasure Box.” Have the child decorate the sign.

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