Everyday Literacy: Environmental Print Activities for Children 3 to 8 by Stephanie Mueller
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Gryphon House (May 1, 2005)
Source of book: Review copy from publisher
Literacy is much more than being able to read a good book...it's a survival skill. Everywhere you go, you're surrounded by words--from nutrition information on food and menus in restaurants to health forms and traffic signs. If you're a teacher or parent who wants to help a child (or children) in your life build literacy skills, Stephanie Mueller's Everyday Literacy might be a good resource for you.
As Ms. Mueller states in the book's introduction, "the abundant tools used to develop early childhood include looking at books and being read to, doing fingerplays, singing songs, writing, painting, drawing and being in a print-rich environment. Of these, one is readily available despite language, culture, or socio-economic status--the print in a child's environment (community)" (p. 9).
Everyday Literacy offers over 150 activities that use this "environmental print" (newspapers, cereal boxes, business cards, product packaging, catalogs, etc.) to help children build literacy skills.
For consistency and ease of use, each activity is organized in the following way:
The Activity: At the top of the page is the name of the activity and a short description underneath.
The page is then divided into two columns.
On the left-hand side, you'll find:
- Objectives: As explained in the book's introduction, "the objectives listed for each activity represent some of the literacy and language skills that can be addressed through using environmental print" (p. 14)
- Materials: A list of materials required for the activity. In most cases, the materials are inexpensive and can be found around the house or in most classrooms. Some activities require books on a specific subject, which you can check out at your local library. Some prep work will be initially required to gather environmental print within the community.
- Theme Connections: For teachers and homeschool parents, many of the activities list ideas for themes or subjects that complement the activity.
- Preparation: Some activities require some up-front preparation, and this section lists steps you need to take to prepare for the activity.
- Literacy Interactions: This section, lists the actual activity instructions. In most cases, there is more than one idea based on the literacy development of the child.
- Variations: Finally, many activities list variations.
TYPES OF ACTIVITIES
To give you an idea of the types of activities in the book, here are a couple that I really liked.
Missing Letter Labels, Page 39
"Children complete words by identifying missing letter(s) and placing them on sentence strips where they belong."
Big Letter Pocket Match, page 80
"Children sort environmental print into pockets using letter and letter sound recognition."
Bakery Shop, page 168
"Children interact and pretend using environmental print and props related to a bakery."
Crayon Rubbings: Signs on the Move, page 215
"Children obtain crayon rubbings from raised surfaces containing environmental print on walks or field trips."
With the wide variety of activities in the book, teachers and parents are sure to find some activities that both fit within their budget and schedule and that will engage their children while helping them develop critical literacy skills.