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What reading experts say:
Concepts of print (print awareness) was listed as one of the 10 essential research-based principles to improve the reading achievement of America's children by The National Research Council in Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children.

Children need to know how our language looks and works in printed form. There are certain conventions of English language text that you can point out as you read stories. When children begin to realize that words tell a story, that we read from left to right and that there is a difference between letters and words, they are attending to some of the visual features of print that are important to reading.

What good readers know:
Good readers can identify the cover and back of books. They know that books have authors and illustrators and that the text within the book tells the story, not the pictures. They also notice print in their environment (signs advertising their favorite restaurants) and like to help with household chores (making the grocery list, creating charts of what each family member wants for dessert and "reading" the ingredients for a recipe).

What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Week 1:
Practice counting and one-to-one correspondence. Make a "counting box" with various items that are safe for your child to count independently, like cotton balls or jelly beans. Number a set of cups from 0-10. Put the cups in order and have your child count and put the matching number of objects in each cup.
Week 2:
Choose a favorite book and act out the story together. Make props with objects from around the house. Promote your child's imagination by making up alternate endings or extra characters.
Week 3:
Go to the Main Library or Westacres Branch. Act out a story with puppets, props and dress-up clothes in the Youth Services Room.
Week 4:
Read five books from the "Playing" book list.

Activities - Playing:
  1. Children love dramatic play. Use props, costumes, puppets, adult clothes or shoes, or dolls to act out and have fun! Play house or reenact favorite books, classic tales or make up your own story. Preschoolers love it when you just play along and let them be the director.
  2. Sensory play is so important for young children. Sand, playdough, slime, mud, or water play are great activities for your child. To avoid a mess, you can play outside or fill a large tub with water or sand, and give your child free rein to dig, pour, scoop, and more. Play along with them and narrate what they are doing. “Wow, you are dumping the sand, now the bucket is empty.” This gives your child exposure to great sensory activities as well as new vocabulary and concepts such as full/empty, soft/hard, etc.
  3. Cooking with your child is a great way to add math, playing, vocabulary, sensory exploration, logical ordering, and confidence boosting. Let them do as much of the work as possible. When at the grocery store, have your child pick out a new healthy food they’d like to try every time, this will allow children to feel accomplished, learn about new foods, and try new recipes at home.

More Great Books to Read(click on a title to check for availability at the Library)