What is Print Awareness?

Reading with children helps them understand, almost by osmosis, the conventions of print or print awareness. This knowledge really enhances children’s ability to learn to read. In fact, print awareness at school entry is a very good indicator of children’s future reading success.

Children who have print awareness know that:

  • there is a front and a back of a book
  • the print in a book goes from left to right and top to bottom on the pages
  • the little black things on the page (print) are linked to the story that is told in the book
  • print has different functions depending on where they see it, for example on a sign or in a book
  • there are letters in words
  • there are spaces between the words.

Many children develop print awareness before they start school. Young children begin to understand that the story in the print lies in the symbols (letters) that make up words. This happens when they see print everyday in the world around them, the people in their lives explain print to them and they are read to from an early age.