We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

In Education, what is Print Awareness?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In education, when a child begins to connect squiggles on a page with sounds, it is termed print awareness. Print awareness is a very important part of early childhood education, and it usually arises naturally, as the child follows adult models. Both parents and teachers work with children to increase print awareness, laying the groundwork for learning how to read. If a child lacks print awareness by the first grade, he or she may struggle to catch up in school. Print awareness should not be confused with the ability to read; it is the ability to understand what text is.

Most adults read things without really thinking about them. For example, you are reading this article from left to right and top to bottom because you understand that this is how English text is read. You are also able to differentiate advertisements on the page from the article itself, the related links at the bottom, and the navigation at the top. You are able to do this because of your print awareness. You understand that text translates into sounds, you know how text should be read, and you understand context.

Children, on the other hand, do not understand this by default. They have to learn the order in which a book needs to be read, and that different text in different contexts means different things. As children discover the rules which govern the use of text, it is termed print awareness. Parents are encouraged to read to their children and engage them in interactive activities which will stimulate print awareness, while teachers do the same in the classroom.

A big part of print awareness, after learning about the order in which print should be read, is understanding context. An adult knows the difference between a newspaper, a magazine, a fiction book, and a chapbook of poetry. A child, on the other hand, might not. Children are beginning to demonstrate that they have print awareness when they understand, for example, that a book generally must be read in order, while individual articles in a newspaper stand alone.

Parents can help their children to develop print awareness by frequently reading to them, and exposing the children to a wide variety of printed materials. Parents should explain book covers, title pages, and concepts like a table of contents and an index. Parents can also ask children to point out the words on a page, helping children to learn to distinguish between pictures, text, and ornaments. The nature of print is extremely complex, although it seems like second nature to adult readers. Developing print awareness at a young age will make a child a stronger reader, giving him or her a better chance at success.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Language & Humanities researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By suntan12 — On Apr 25, 2011

@Sunshine31 - I agree. My kids love Dr. Seuss because his books are so fun to read. I know that most kindergarten programs use phonics readers in order to help the children develop a certain level of reading fluency.

When my children were in kindergarten they always took home various little books that focused on the target sound that they were learning in class. The books were very simple and usually had one to four word sentences that were phonetically controlled so that the child could focus on only that sound.

They also developed phonological awareness with songs. Singing nursery rhymes also helped the children develop phonemic awareness because of the repetitive sounds.

I also know that teachers label everything in the classroom which helps children learn to read because they know what the item that is labeled is and can slowly sound out the word from the written label.

By sunshine31 — On Apr 23, 2011

I agree that reading to children daily allows them the ability to create a level of phonemic awareness that makes learning to read easier. I also think that reading books with repetitive and rhyming text help children develop knowledge of the sounds that certain letters and word combinations make.

Dr. Seuss books are excellent books to read to children that are learning to read because Dr. Seuss is known for his rhyming and repetitive content. For example, in, “The Cat in the Hat”, the at word family is repeated constantly throughout the book and children are exposed to the word, “At”, “Cat”, “Sat”, and “Hat” as well as other word families.

Little by little children automatically learn these sounds and will recognize these words in other books.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.