Providing a Print-Rich Environment in your Home

Many times we hear of ways and means of making the classroom a print-rich environment. But did you know that you can also provide such an environment in your home? In doing so you automatically involve your children in reading. They begin to make meaningful connections between the printed word and the sounds they hear which ultimately contributes to their success in learning to read.

Creating a print-rich home means making sure that your children see and notice many of examples of print.  By making children aware of functional print,  like labels and directions, and environmental print, like signs and packaging, they begin to make the connection that letters serve a real purpose. (SOURCE)

Creating a print-rich environment is easy. Here are some ways to get started:

Label objects and items around your home

From the refrigerator to the door to the chair, any object in the home can be labelled. Make labels using paper or card stock (even an index card works) and a marker. Or if you prefer you can print the text out and paste onto construction paper. The font size should be clear and large enough to be read from anywhere in the room. Tape labels to objects and at eye level as much as is possible.  If you’d rather not put labels all around the house, then chose one room to label (maybe your child’s bedroom or the kitchen).

Words (almost) everywhere

Books and Other Things with words: Have books and other reading materials (such as magazines) in view and in close reach so that they are always available for browsing and/or reading. These books and magazines can be on a shelf or on table or anywhere that your child can see and access them easily. Maybe you have take-out menus hanging around somewhere. Put them out so children can read about foods.

Foods and Recipes: Read out loud the recipe that you are using to prepare dinner. Ask your child to find the ingredients that begin with a certain letter. Enlist your child’s help in making the grocery list. Let him/her help you find items on the shelf while shopping. Look at the name of items as you unpack and store away after grocery shopping.


Playing: Empty cereal boxes and other cartons in a pretend supermarket provide another way for children to play and interact with words. Provide lots of blank paper with crayons or pencils so that children can draw and write.

By having print, words and letters all over your home (starting when your child is an infant) you can build interest in reading, phonological awareness, letter knowledge without even trying. (SOURCE)

Charts or posters 

Like labels, informative charts or posters in the home can encourage children learn new words. These charts could be as simple as showing the alphabet to numerals or related a specific interest of you child such as vehicles, vegetables etc. calendars and maps are also items with text which you can post to a wall or bulletin board in your home.

One of the first things you should post is your child’s name within clear view. Point to and read aloud the name everyday. Indicate the first letter that your child’s name begins with.

Magnetic Letters on Refrigerator or White Board

Magnetic letters placed on the door of the refrigerator provides your child an opporunity to play with letters and form them into words.  

Note: All these tips can be applied to helping a child to learn to read and write Arabic or any language for that matter.


What are some ways that you make your home a print-rich environment? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.


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A mailbox in your home? A fun way to encourage reading and writing.

Have you ever thought about having a mailbox in your home or classroom? It can be the start of a fun and easy way to get your children involved in writing, and reading too!   

image source hownowdesign (Flickr - Creative Commons)

Adults and children are spending longer hours on the computer (and sadly also in front of the television) and less time with books and papers and pens. Writing anything, especially if it’s beside assigned school work, has become a chore to many children. While we enjoy the convenience of email; we should also take time to show children how good it feels to write a letter/greeting card. Encourage them to send post cards and greeting cards to their family and friends and I am sure they will enjoy receiving a reply. This simple activity on a regular basis will encourage children to express their thoughts and write them down. Younger children can draw and colour as their way of input. 

But what about a mailbox in your home? How would that work? I’ve had one in my home off and on for the last year and a half. It adds another dimension to communication between my child and my hubby and I. Basically all it involves is writing letters to each other using the mailbox as the central point for holding and collecting the mail. The mailbox is easy to make; a shoe box or cereal box can work (children would have fun decorating it).  

Here is how the mailbox works. Write a letter to your child and put it in the box. He collects the ‘mail’ and reads it; for younger children the parent can read the letter out loud to them. Then your child writes a reply and put it in the mailbox. Now it’s the parent’s turn to check the mail. He/she reads the letter (alternatively you can have your child read your letter to you). you can also use the mailbox to share artwork, memos, jokes, quotations and even comics clipped from the newspapers. The mailbox idea works well with older children and even teenagers. It provides the opportunity for each person to express their thoughts and feelings in a way they may not when speaking directly to each other.  

Through this mailbox activity you have automatically involved your child in the process of both reading and writing. In addition, not only is this ongoing activity fun, it provides you and your children with the opportunity to grow closer through spending time together and in sharing your thoughts and ideas. 

So is the mailbox idea something you’d try in your home to get your children reading and writing? Maybe you’ve done something similar. Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Babies reading, Books for boys, Summer Play ‘n’ Read and Literacy Tips for Travel

In the past couple of weeks I’ve come across the following that I thought you might find interesting to read/know. They range from a news article to short stories to some great ways to integrate reading and literacy into those long vacation days:

  • A news article titled, Your Baby Can Read – But Why? by Jamie Swenson takes a look at why expensive reading programs are not necessary to teach your baby/toddler how to read. The writer explains how these programs will teach a child to read eventually but they will not show a child the that reading is an enjoyable experience. Reading is not just about learning it’s about the experience shared between parents and children. 







I hope these inspire and inform you!

Happy Reading eveyone!

Do’s and Don’ts of Reading Aloud

Recently, I recommended The Read-Aloud Handbook as a great resource for parents and teachers. It not only gives extensive evidence for the practice of reading aloud to children int he home and classroom but also provides some great tips for doing so. Below is an excerpt of a few of the do’s and don’ts of read-aloud that might interest you (taken from Chapter 4 of The Read-Aloud Handbook  (5th edition): 


Here is a sample of some of the Do’s:

  • Occasionally read above children’s intellectual levels and challenge their minds.
  • Allow your listeners a few minutes to settle down and adjust their feet and minds to the story. If it’s a novel, begin by asking what happened when you left off yesterday.
  • Mood is an important factor in listening. An authoritarian “Now stop that and settle down! Sit up straight. Pay attention” doesn’t create a receptive atmosphere.
  • Allow time for class and home discussion after reading a story. Thoughts, hopes, fears and discoveries are aroused by a book.



Teacher reading aloud to class Flickr CC
photo source: Old Shoe Woman (Flickr – Creative Commons)


Here is a sample of some of the Don’t’s:

  • Don’t read above a child’s emotional level. Don’t overwhelm your listener – consider the intellectual, social and emotional level of your audience when making a read-aloud selection.
  • If you are a teacher, don’t feel you have to tie every book to class work. Don’t confine the broad spectrum of literature to the narrow limits of the curriculum.
  • In choosing novels for reading aloud, avoid books that are heavy with dialogue; they are difficult reading aloud and listening.
  • Don’t use the book as a threat. As soon as your child or class sees that you’ve turned the book into a  weapon, they’ll change their attitude about books from positive to negative.


I am sure these tips will help improve your read-aloud times with your children and/or class making it an enjoyable and beneficial time for everyone.