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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Shukran (Thank you) for your support and cooperation.



Reading – Poem by a young Muslim poet

image via flickr by Chocolate Geek

Today I am happy to share with you a guest post by Fida Islaih, a young Muslim poet. I stumbled upon her poetry about a year or so ago. Fida has kindly consented to my request and composed a short poem on reading and what it means to her. Read more of her poetry at A Poet Named Fida.


© Fida Islaih


Reading is like traveling

seeing, being in different worlds

all imaginable

if you let your mind go.


Reading is like pictures

but looking the way you want;


Reading is like writing

Letting the world know what’s on your mind.

New books and News: An Ummah Reads roundup

Just a quick post here with a roundup of some one bit of news and of the books I’ve come across (one just released):

First though, I want to mention the Tales of Dhikarville books that a reader of this blog introduced me to. I haven’t read these books but they seem to be simple stories that are aimed at encouraging good behaviour and Islamic habits in Muslim children. According to the publisher these books are:

“Colourful illustrated books with Islamic morals”

It appears that these books are based on the Mr. Men/Little Miss books which some of you may know. Each book featured a dominant character whose personality was based on his/her name for example, there was a “Mr. Chatterbox”, a”Mr. Messy”, a “Little Miss Bossy” and a “Little Miss Helpful.”

The writer of Tales of Dhikarville is H.B. Sahibzada and the illustrator is M. N. Sialvi. The illustrations follow the original series’ with short, chubby characters and simple, bold colours except that now they wear hijab, have beards and wear long clothing. Titles are catchy with some being Brother Dawah, Brother Hajj, Brother Tawheed, Little Sister Birr, Little Sister Salaam and Little Sister Taharah. Read a brief review of the series and about one title in particular, Brother Sawn here.

I haven’t been able to find a website, but according to the Facebook page, there seems to be more than thirty books in the series. I’m not sure if these books are available outside of the United Kingdom. Has anyone out there read the books in this series? I would love to hear about what you think.

A new book from the Islamic Foundation I’ve come across (which I haven’t read it as yet) is The Hijab Boutique by Michelle Khan. I am not sure what age group this book is geared toward but from the publisher’s site it may be for 7 to 10 years and according to the publisher’s website:

“Farah enjoyed her private girls’ school until the day an assignment to bring in something representing her mother to talk about for ‘International Woman’s Day’. Compared to her friend’s glamorous actress and tap-dancing mothers, what can her modest, humble mother have that is worth sharing with her classmates? To her surprise, her mother was quite a business woman!”


Last year I became a member of the Islamic Writers’ Alliance, an organisation of Muslim writers, editors, poets and authors. Members benefit from the support and advice that is shared. The organisation also produces a quarterly magazine and gives book awards and donations to Islamic schools among other things. Recently I was privileged to be interviewed by a fellow IWA member, Amina Malik, who asked me about what were my intention and hopes for Ummah Reads. Please stop by and read the online magazine here (scroll down, it’s the third interview).

Image credits: Tales of Dhikarville – &

Developing the Good Habit of Reading

I’ve talked a lot about what you, as a parent, teacher, leader and caregiver, can do to encourage children to read. But I wanted to ask today, how many adults read on a daily basis? You might be saying ‘Yes, Of course I read everyday! I read the Quran!” But aside from the Quran what else do you read?

Photo by Yuriy Galoff (dreamstime)

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘bad habits die-hard,’ Well, I think it is fair to say that in contrast, good habits are many times quite difficult to develop. When it comes to making reading a good habit, it’s like exercising daily, many people find it difficult making it part of their everyday life. But reading everyday is a good habit we should all strive to develop. Without going into a long explanation I thought I’d just give you 12 quick ways you can start to develop a good habit of reading.

12 Ways to Develop the Reading Habit

  1. Keeping printed materials visible in your home will make it more likely for you to pick up a book and read.*
  2. Join the library in your neighbourhood; use your library card to borrow books, magazines, audio books etc.
  3. Download ebooks on your mobile phone, e-reader or laptop. It’s quick and there’s no waiting. Easy to read on your commute, while waiting or in bed.
  4. Subscribe to a magazine. There are as many magazines as there are hobbies/interests.
  5. Enter reading and writing competitions.
  6. Join a reading/book club or start your own.
  7. Cook a dish based on a book you’ve read recently.
  8. Read Aloud to someone or just to yourself.
  9. Buy books at garage sales, thrift stores and conferences.
  10. Play games that involve words e.g. Scrabble, Upwords or Boggle.
  11. Play a sport based on a story or watch a movie based on a book.
  12. Visit a bookstore to shop or just to browse.


* Bookshelves are great for storing books, but you can have books on coffee tables, bedside tables, kitchen counter and computer desk. And remember it’s not only books you can read but magazines, comics, etc.

What about you? How do you incorporate reading into your everyday life?