Do you have a variety of print displayed in your classroom? A print rich environment contains different texts that use print for various purposes. It helps students to extend their knowledge about how letters, words, sentences and texts work. The print rich environment can be created in collaboration with your students. If you need some other ideas for creating a print rich environment, then I have 6 strategies that you might like to try.
1. Detachable / Movable Print
Do you have a display in your room where students are able to detach words and manipulate them? Movable print is easy to set up and students enjoy moving around the various types of words and sentences. Attach words to surfaces with blu tac or Velcro dots. Students can then move words according to different types of groups. For younger students you might get them to move words according to:
- Initial letters;
- Common sounds;
- Word types, ie: if it’s a noun or adjective etc;
- Alphabetical order;
- Tense; and
- Letter patterns.
For older students the detachable print may include:
- Whole sentences or paragraphs that students need to place in the correct order; and
- Jumbled up text types that students put back together; include headings, titles, captions, illustrations
2. Students’ Work
Using your students’ work to create a print rich environment allows your students to explore and interact with print in an authentic and purposeful way. Take time to go and re-read the displayed work, this is meaningful to your students. Student work can also be used in word hunts and other activities. This is a way to use the displayed work, rather than just hang the work up and then not interact with it.
Below are some examples of student work that I have displayed to become part of the environmental print in the room.
Do you have a reading corner in your class, or a class library? Think about how you can set this up so that it is appealing and engaging to your students. Include other objects and materials in your reading corner to add interest. Also ensure comfortable seating is supplied. I always had a big pile of cushions that students could use in the reading corner. Include a wide range of text types in the reading corder, such as:
- Informational texts;
- Comics; and
- Class made texts.
The below picture is a book of student work that I made with a class. We added this book to our reading corner, and it was the most used book in the room. The students enjoyed looking back through all of the work they had completed.
Do you follow a theme or topic in your class? Another good way to include a variety of print is to set up a theme display. The display is developed around the class theme/topic. The display can include:
- Completed student work relating to the theme;
- Photos of class activities;
- An interest table related to the theme that includes objects and other material that is related;
- Posters; and
- A word wall that uses topic specific words.
Have you thought about using the print in the room for different games? Some of the games you could use include:
Tic, tac, toe
Students need to create a sequence of three words in a row to win (diagonally, vertically or horizontally). Provide each player with a particular focus. For example, Player A needs to select a word from the room that has the /ae/ sound and Player B selects a word from the room that has 2 syllables.
This classic game can be used in many ways incorporating the various environmental print. I spy with my little eye: a word that has 4 syllables or a word that starts with the sound /s/ or a word that rhymes with cat. The options for I spy are endless.
This game can be played by 2 students or in 2 teams. It is played and scored like a tennis match. Students can select words from word walls or the theme displays. Player 1 calls out a word and Player 2 needs to spell it correctly. If Player 2 doesn’t spell it correctly, the score becomes 15 – love. If it is spelled correctly, the score is love – 15. Player 2 then calls out a word for Player 1 to spell. The scoring continues as in tennis.
6. Morning Routines
Do you have specific routines you complete in your class in the mornings? Some of the ways you can incorporate your morning routines in the environment print can include:
- Create charts of the morning greetings and classroom routines;
- Have an agenda that outlines the activities for the day for students to refer to;
- Use flashcards for the children’s names, birthdays, months of the year, days of the week etc;
- Make a T-Chart for the class attendance – who is at school and who is absent? Get your students to place student names onto the chart; and
- Do you have a good morning song? Have the song written on sentence strips. Get your students to place the sentences in the correct order each morning before singing the song. Display the strips in a pocket chart so that it becomes part of the environmental print.
I hope this has given you some other ideas to add to the print in your classroom.
I’d also love to hear from you. How do you create a print rich environment in your class?
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