Reading Recipe: Stop the printing presses!


Stop the printing presses! There is a rewrite to the print concepts post. I wrote about this post earlier; however, there were some set backs and revisions were needed to be made. So here is the rewrite for the print concepts post. Again, if you have any feedback or comments please let me know.

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 connections between pictures and words, how the texts is printed from left to right/top to bottom, and that sentences end with punctuation marks are the foundation of print knowledge. Braunger and Lewis state the reason for print concepts, “This is important to make explicit, as children who fail to see the very nature and purposes of reading are often those who are seen to be at risk of not learning to read successfully” (p. 76).

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. Barbara Law and Mary Eckes (2010) write about the importance of surrounding students with text, “Even though students may not make the connection that those squiggles are a graphic representation of the concept, seeing the squiggles every day helps reinforce the connection” (p. 117). A way to incorporate space for the squiggles or symbols into the classroom is to establish a word wall. Anne McGill-Franzen (2006) describes word walls as a way to, “help children become independent readers and writers by making the patterns within and across words more apparent to them (p. 186). By having a spot where students can see several words next to each other they are able to establish word spelling patterns. McGill-Franzen goes on to say, “The words are displayed for easy reference so that children can use these words and word patterns to help them read and write” (p. 186). Also, by having words on the wall students are able to use those words readily in their writing.

Part of learning print concepts is connecting the text together with meaning. Either the actual meaning for a word or the idea that the squiggles are words. 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.


Braunger, J., Lewis, J. (2006). Building a knowledge base in reading: Second edition. Newark DE: International Reading Association, Urbana, IL: The National Council of Teachers of English.

Law, B., Eckes, M. (2010). The more than just surviving handbook: ELL for every classroom teacherWinnipeg, CANADA: Portage & Main Press.

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


Mrs. Berry


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