- Environmental print: A print-rich environment supports the reading skills that students need as they learn. Environmental print will show them that reading is all around them, help them discover cues needed to read single words, and encourage an interest in writing. Consider the kitchen: it is full of environmental print. As parents prepare meals, they can point out a multitude of things to their children; individual letters, words, signs, or symbols on food packaging. They can ask their child to identify logos they recognize, letters they know, or words that they can read. Although it sounds simple, knowing that O-R-E-O spells Oreo is the beginning of associating letters with their meanings and ultimately reading whole words.
- Labels, signs, and charts: Parents can begin to label familiar objects in their homes that children interact with on a daily basis, such as door, table, chair, bed, or window. The more opportunities a child has to see a word directly associated with its meaning, the better prepared he will be to read. Ask parents to identify signs or charts already present in the home that a child can read, such as a calendar or poster. If a child can identify a word on a poster, the parent can then help her look in a book for the same word. These artifacts allow parents to help connect a child's current understanding to their future reading ability and the literacy teaching strategies they experience at school.
- Household tasks: Children naturally want to participate in household tasks with their parents. Parents can take advantage of this interest by reinforcing literacy skills and using literacy artifacts. Many parents cut coupons out of the Sunday paper each week; Ask parents to involve their children and make it a fun activity by pointing out different labels, numbers, or words.
Although teachers are primarily responsible for the literacy teaching strategies in their classrooms, they also have an opportunity to promote the idea of literacy rich homes to all of their students' families. Parents are uniquely able to reinforce their child's learning through interactions and by understanding that a child's home is an excellent place to learn. Literacy artifacts, objects in the home that the child is already reading, are a great way to connect the teacher's literacy teaching strategies with real-life applications. Teachers and parents can look for literacy artifacts within:
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