Pre-reading Skills: Building Print Knowledge

Posted on Apr 5, 2017 | 0 comments


By Bonnie Toth, T/TH 2’s teacher

What is pre-reading? How do children learn to read? What should they be learning in preschool?

Pre-reading is also defined as Literacy Socialization, which consists of two items:

  1. Phonological Awareness
    1. the awareness of sounds and rhymes
    2. concept of words, syllables, and sounds
    3. manipulation of those words, syllables, and sounds
    4. how written language relates to sounds
  2. Print Knowledge
    1. Environmental print
    2. Link read-aloud texts to experiences
    3. Understanding of concept of words, letters, and sounds

This blog will focus on building Print Knowledge. The best way to do that is to read, read, read! Read a wide variety of quality children’s literature.

When considering the variety of literature you will purchase and read, consider the variety of purposes of reading. These include:

  • Vocabulary building
  • Decoding
  • Love of reading
  • Learning a new idea or skill

Books are expensive- and nice, hard-cover books are even more expensive. Ideally, you want the books you purchase to be used for more than one purpose: you want quality, complex books. A complex book has some basic characteristics:

  1. Complex books have engaging complex plots
    1. The plot interests readers, and drive desire to learn what happens next
    2. The main idea or problem may need to be inferred
    3. Ask yourself: Is there a conflict? How is it resolved?
  2. Complex books have round, well-defined characters
    1. The characters are dynamic and changing
    2. The main characters grow throughout the story
    3. The characters act, think and speak differently depending on immediate context
    4. Side note: Your book collection should have a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and genders represented among the characters and settings.
  3. Complex books have rich language
    1. The words help develop complex meanings within the story
    2. Language should include figurative language and may include context specific language
  4. Complex books have engaging, complex illustrations
    1. Children should need to blending text and illustration to create meaning
    2. Illustrations may require background knowledge or inferences to understand meaning

Where can you get started?