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Developing an understanding of how print is used to communicate is an essential component of acquiring literacy. Print awareness is believed to ‘emerge naturally’ for children who live in families where reading is an everyday activity.

Children who do not develop print awareness at home are at a considerable disadvantage when they enter preschool. For example, assessments of their school readiness may show that have not achieved an expected level of print awareness on simple measures such as the difference between letters and words and the directionality of print (for English text, left to right, top to bottom).

Each ScienceStart! daily lesson plan includes an emphasis on print awareness. These lessons go beyond simple components of print awareness such as those listed above and include a focus on gaining meaning from photographs and illustrations, searching a table of contents, using periods and question marks, co-authoring classroom books, and so forth.

The list below shows the print awareness skills introduced in each of the 10 units that comprise the ScienceStart! Curriculum. Skills introduced early in the school year, such as directionality of print, are reinforced in subsequent lessons. The list below includes only the initial introduction of a skill. Thus, more skills are mentioned in the earlier than in the later lesson plans.

My School and My Friends

Directionality of print

Reading common signs

Comprehension of cover illustrations

Using labels

Using letters to make words

Reading wordless books

Recognizing a question and using a question mark

Learning to Measure

Obtaining information from photos and illustrations

Identifying the parts of a book

Understanding recipes as a genre of print

Reading rebus stories

Using the title and cover of a book as comprehension tools

Recognizing a particular word in print

Using labels for diagrams and charts

Color

Discussing wordless picture books

Labels and signatures

Fiction and non-fiction

Tracking print as you read

Distinguishing between text and illustrations

Light, Shadow and Reflections

Using page numbers

Making classroom books

Using a table of contents and page numbers

Properties of Matter

Labels, recipes, and lists

Labels and environmental print

Titles and labels

Living Things in the Neighborhood, Plants in the Neighborhood, and Animals in the Neighborhood

 Making Charts

Creating a labeled photo display

Differentiating between numbers and letters

Differentiating between letters and words

Identify specific words in text

Making and using a Venn Diagram

Making and labeling a diagram

How Things Move and Simple Machines

Identifying a word in print

Using picture clues for comprehension

Understanding and using periods and question marks

Make street signs