Years before children actually learn to read, they begin to realize that letters and written text carry meaning.
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Research has shown that most toddlers and preschool children don’t pay attention to printed text unless they are encouraged to do so by the person reading the book. Simply by pointing to the text (“print referencing”) while we read a book, we can reverse that trend and get children interested in just what those black lines and squiggles on the page actually mean.
What does point to print achieve in young, pre-literate children? An early understanding that print carries meaning, which supports the growing recognition of letters and is linked to an earlier ability to both name and write letters.
Event though pointing or even mentioning text clearly provides advantages for literacy development, most carers of toddlers and pre-schoolers don’t refer to a book’s print during a reading session.
Evidence shows that either pointing to or even verbally referring to text significantly increases the amount of time children pay attention to text during storybook reading. By remembering to point to and refer to print, parents can foster children’s mastery of key early literacy concepts.
A note about the author:
Dr. Randa Grob-Zakhary, MD Ph.D. is the Founder of The Babyboost Institute for Early Learning and Development. Want more tips? Purchase Babyboost: 50 Critical Facts on Amazon.