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How do children build up an understanding that print has meaning?

See how through every day activities two year old Ava is learning what print is for and that it carries meaning. Making lists, shopping, looking at signs and packets.

Good for looking at

  • literacy development
  • communication development
  • mark-making
  • writing development
  • shopping
  • signs
  • parents

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Transcript of video – How do children build up an understanding that print has meaning?

Parents should never underestimate how much children learn when they‘re part of ordinary activities. 

As well as having the physical skills for mark making and being able to listen carefully to the sounds that make up words, children also need to know what print is for. This is usually learned by interacting with others using print.

Mum needs to write a shopping list, and Ava’s keen to have a go and pretends to write.

What children need to understand, bit by bit by bit, is that there are a load of marks, which initially look to them just like squiggles, which are writing, they are words. Words say something.

She’s beginning to understand that the squiggles that are written on paper represent different things. These two words are important ones to Ava.

Later at the supermarket Ava finds the cereal box that they’d put on the list.

Children learn an awful lot about recognising familiar packets or signs because they go shopping with you, they work out learn how we walk to the market. They start to recognise familiar words and logos. It’s just as important when children start to spend some time in out of home care, like nursery or playgroup, that those ordinary experiences are recognised and valued. 

Ava’s becoming familiar with the uses that print has and understands that it carries a meaning. She’s really making sense of print.

What children ned to see over early childhood is that their familiar adults, so their parents but also their early years practitioners in nursery, that we as adults use our reading and writing skills. We need to be a really good working model that it is so useful to read and write.