This blog is dedicated to creating print-rich environments for young children. I became familiar with the concept of “print-rich” environments in my literacy methods courses in college. Like all good teachers, I put lots of deliberate effort into creating a print-rich classroom. Now, as a parent, that habit has carried over into my home.
Creating a print-rich home means making sure that your children see and notice many of examples of print. By making children aware of functional print, like labels and directions, and environmental print, like signs and packaging, they begin to make the connection that letters serve a real purpose.
When I began thinking about decorating my first baby’s room, I immediately started gathering board books for his bookshelf. I purchased alphabet cards for the walls, made some wall art with a quote I love, and decorated letters to spell my son’s name. I eventually added some other items, (like a crib!) to round things out. Even though my new baby wouldn’t be able to recognize letters or read them for a long while, that environmental print was high on my list of priorities. Of course, at first he didn’t care about these things. But it really didn’t take long for him to enjoy being read to, and as he’s grown into his big six-year-old self, he’s loved looking at his alphabet cards, he’s learned to spell his name with the help of his name letters… Of course, his print-rich environment is not solely responsible for teaching him to read, but it’s obviously an important component of his early literacy learning.
I love inspiring letter-related learning tools and decor. In the real world, I don’t have the money, wall-space, or storage space to actually own them all. (So I just share them here!) Most of the time, I make my own version using whatever time and materials I have available. My point is, “print-rich” doesn’t mean you have to be rich rich. All you really need to do is find a pencil and paper to write labels, messages and signs, notice and discuss environmental print with your child, and get some good books from the library to enjoy together.