What is Environmental Print?
Reading print from the world around us is one of the beginning stages of literacy development. The letters, numbers, shapes, and colors found in logos for products and stores such as McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Coke, and Campbell’s soup all provide opportunities for emerging readers to interact with print and the written word in their own environment. We see Environmental Print everywhere, we see logos and signs in our daily lives but as adults we don’t consider it real “reading”. However, Environmental Print is the first print a child learns to “read”.
Why should I use Environmental Print in my classroom?
Using Environmental Print in the classroom is very meaningful to young children. The logos and signs they see in their daily lives hold great meaning for them. How many times have you driven by a McDonald’s restaurant with your child in the car and he has shouted “Look! McDonald’s!”? Children get excited when they can “read” the print in their environment. Environmental Print is another way to build confidence in young children and get them excited about reading. When children are excited about reading and print holds meaning for them they will learn much faster and begin to make connections to the world around them. When children use the contextual clues found in Environmental Print to “read” then they will be able to transition into the functional print of school more easily.
What are some ways I can use Environmental Print in my classroom?
Environmental Print can be incorporated easily into every area of the early childhood classroom. Here are some ideas for using Environmental Print below:
Environmental Print Class Book
Have the students bring box fronts of their favorite breakfast cereal to school and make a class book titled “What’s for Breakfast?”.
Our Favorite Restaurant book: Have the students bring bags from their favorite restaurants. Next, mount the environmental print from the bags on cardstock and add the text below. “________ (child’s name) likes to eat at ________(name of restaurant)”
Environmental Print Bingo
Combine emergent literacy learning and bingo for lots of fun! Download the free printable game on the blog here.
Environmental Print Memory Matching Game
Collect the mini-cereal boxes and cut the fronts off the boxes. You will need two of each box front to make the matching game. Mix up the box fronts and place them face down to create a memory matching game.
Environmental Print Pocket Chart
Download the free environmental print pocket chart sentences at the bottom of this page.
Environmental Print Word Wall
Put Environmental Print on your word wall. It is even more meaningful if you have the students bring in the Environmental Print to put up on the wall themselves.
Environmental Print I Spy
There are two ways to do this activity. The first way is to invite your students to bring in Environmental Print to share. Then, cut out the Environmental Print and staple it to a bulletin board or glue it on a poster board. Children can play the “I Spy” game using the bulletin board or chart they created. The other way is for those of you who have an ELMO (see the ELMO page if you don’t know what that is). Using the Google image search feature create a page with all sorts of different Environmental Print that your students will recognize. Next, put the page under your ELMO and the students can play “I Spy” using a big pointer or fly swatter to touch the images on the screen.
Environmental Print Puzzles
You can make simple puzzles from cereal box fronts for your students.
Environmental Print Sorting
Students can bring in all sorts of Environmental Print and you can have them sort them by category (food, toy, store, signs etc)
Environmental Print T-Chart
Create a simple t-chart in your word processing program and have students glue environmental print on the page in categories of “I like/I don’t like”, or “food/fun”.
Environmental Print Block Center
Add environmental print traffic signs to your block center. You can find the free printable traffic signs HERE.
Free Environmental Print Printables
Environmental Print Links
Environmental Print Resources: