Recipe for Reading: Print Concepts

Created by Sarah

As part of the Recipe for Reading series, I will be first discussion print concepts because this is where it all starts for readers.  I have add my sources on the bottom if you want to check what else they have written. 


Mrs. Berry

     The foundation of reading is built upon a reader’s print knowledge. Anne McGill-Franzen (2006), states “In a single meeting, a child can learn critical concepts about book orientation, distinctions between illustrations and text, directionality of text, the meaning of letter, word, first, and last, and the function of common punctuation marks” (p. 64). McGill-Franzen is referring to an opportunity for students who have not had exposure to print prior to kindergarten. Basic knowledge of how to hold a book, the differences between pictures and words, how the texts moves from left to right and down, and that sentences end with punctuation marks are the foundation of print knowledge. Without such knowledge students will not be able to read.

     Before learning to read, a reader needs to know basic print concepts. Jane Braunger and Jan Petricia Lewis (2001) write, “Children must become aware of language as written, then gain more sophisticated concepts about print, including being able to talk about and describe its aspects and processes as they understand them. They will need to know about the parts as well as the whole and that it makes sense-it carriers meaning” (p. 76).  Students need to understand that the little symbols that they see in books or text in other places carry meaning. For example when children see the letter “M” on a billboard or post they understand that symbol represents McDonalds. This only works if the child has exposure to this text and makes a connection between the place and the symbol.

     Part of learning print concepts is connecting the text together. McGill-Franzen (2006) writes, “Learning to talk requires that the child segment the speech stream into meaningful units; similarly, learning to read requires that the child segment a line of print into meaningful units-words” (p. 63). By having a foundation in print concepts students are able to take lines of print and start to attach meaning. When this foundation is in place, students can take their knowledge of print and start to interpret meaning from what they see in text. 

McGill-Franzen, A. (2006). Kindergarten literacy: Matching assessment and instruction in      kindergarten. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. 

Braunger, J., Lewis, J. (2006). Building a knowledge base in reading: Second Edition.     Newark, DE: International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. 


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