Children's Development, Classroom Organization, Playroom Organization

Encourage the Love of Reading through Print Rich Environments

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, I want to chat about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, literacy! Whatever learning looks like for you this year: remote, hybrid, or in person, supporting literacy is super important and easy to do! Let’s tackle some common questions about encouraging process of learning to read and write.

How can I support literacy in my home, classroom, or daycare space?

Creating a deeper engagement with print is a great place to start! Educators call these spaces “print rich environments.” They encourage children to engage with and see that the printed word serves a purpose. Fostering the importance of written words starts long before a little one is able to read.

What is a print rich environment?

Print rich environments present the idea that there are many ways to express oneself, and that written words are another form of communication. These spaces present a variety of exposures to print media: books, magazines, menus, mail, and flyers just to name a few. Promoting the use of print in play inspires kids to discover the cues that will lead them to become readers. The point is to get children emulating the print that they see around them everyday.

How can you add print rich environments to your home, classroom, or daycare spaces?

Print has many purposes in everyday life. Have books displayed in different areas around the house. Reading isn’t just for bedtime anymore! Books can be displayed in bedrooms, playrooms, and living rooms. A variety of print interaction prompts them to connect with in reading and writing naturally. We want to find ways to encourage a little one’s independence and this is a perfect way to do so.

What features are most important in creating a literacy corner or nook?

Select forward facing displays that don’t over do it with too many options. Front facing books covers make it easier to choose books based on interest. Keep your literacy area tidy and clutter free. Fewer options make it easier to focus! Think about rotating book selections to keep things fresh and inviting. Use shelving that keeps books low and at little reader’s fingertips. Imbed a designated reading time into a daily schedule. Lastly, show little ones the importance of reading by taking time in your own day to curl up with a good book. Happy Reading!

Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.