the basic knowledge about how print in general, and books, in particular, “work.”

Concepts of Print Include:     
  • Print that we “read.”
  • Illustrations related to the print.
  • Print representing language.
  • Purposes of print.
  • The fact that words don’t change between readings

The Alphabetic Principle:
The understanding that words are made of letters and letters are the sounds we say when we way the words; and the understanding that by putting letters together in different ways, we make different words.
Definition from Bennett-Armistead, V. S., Duke, N. K., & Moses, A. M. (2005).  Literacy and the youngest learner:
Best practices for educators  of children from birth to five.
New York: Scholastic.
Facts About Concepts of Print:
  • We read words from left to right.
  • We read from word to word left to right.
  • We read from top to bottom
  • We use “return sweep” (when we get to the next line down, we start back at the left again.)
  • Spaces separate words
  • Words, sentences, and texts have a “beginning” and an “end”
  • Words have a “first letter”, a “last letter”, and “middle letters”.
  • The orientation of letters matters in print (a pen is a pen no matter how you hold it, but a letter could be a p, b, q, or d depending on how you hold it).
  • There is a “right side up” for print.
  • Different punctuations marks have different meanings
  • Upper and lower case letters have purpose
  • We open and hold books in a certain way.
  • We turn pages of a book from left to right
  • Books have a front and back, a cover, an author, and sometimes an illustrator, index, table of contents, and glossary
  • Knowledge of punctuation and upper and lower case letters
  • Essential to conventional reading and writing and predictive of growth of reading in the early grades.
  • Can begin to be developed very early but may still be developing well into elementary school or beyond
  • Don’t assume that a student knows something
Duke, Nell K. (2009). Modifications by Shedd, Megan K.  Presented by Block, Meghan.Concepts of Print
and Genre
[PowerPoint Slides].  Retrieved from University of Michigan State.

  Concepts About Print. (2009). Retrieved April 1, 2010, from Welcome to TEAMS Educational Resources website: http://teams.lacoe.edu/documentation/classrooms/patti/k-1/teacher/assessment/print/concepts.html

Ways to Help Students Develop Concepts of Print:    
  • Hold the book or other text so children can see it.
  • Point to words as you read them.
  • Write in front of children in such a way that they can read it.
  • Say words as you write them.
  • Use terminology like “front,” “back,” “author,” “illustrator” and so on.
  • When the time seems right, explicitly tell children about particular concepts of print (e.g., “this space here tells you it’s the end of this word”).
  • Have children “help” you with concepts of print: ask questions

Activities to Help Develop Concepts of Print:

  • Pretend to go to the grocery store.  Have them help you create the list.
  • Make a book with students using familiar photographs.  Write it together and read it together, while pointing to the words as you read.
  • Always keep reading to the students.  Let them make predictions of the story before continuing.
  • Create mini games while reading.  You can count the letters or playing Eye-Spy with the words.
    • Example: Eye-Spy a three letter word-and have the child find it
  • Use a magnifying glass for a student to act as a “letter detective.”
Duke, Nell K. (2009). Modifications by Shedd, Megan K. Presented by Block, Meghan.Concepts of Print
and Genre
[PowerPoint Slides].  Retrieved from University of Michigan State.