A few weeks ago I shared with you some ideas to create a print rich environment in your class. Now that you have this classroom full of different types of print, I thought you might like to know how to conduct a print walk.
What is a print walk?
First up, you may be wondering what a print walk is? It involves students reading print around the room and the focus you set may be at whole text, sentence, word or letter/sound level.
Types of print
To get the most out of a print walk it’s important for your class to have a variety of print. Some types of print can include:
1. Environmental print
This is print that gives us information about the world. For example:
- Schedules, rosters, messages on the display board and advertisements;
- Charts for classroom helpers, numbers, alphabet etc.; and
- Everyday text in and around the class, community signs.
2. Occupational print
This is print associated with a job or profession. For example:
- Text in the home corner, shop corner, post office etc; and
- Chart for class rights and responsibilities, rules, catalogues, instruction manuals and order forms.
3. Informational print
This is print for storing, retrieving and organizing information. For example:
- Calendars and planners;
- Word banks and word walls; and
- Subject timetables.
4. Recreational print
This is print used for leisure activities. For example:
- Songs, rhymes, poems, chants;
- Reading corners;
- Magazines, newspapers; and
- Instructions for games.
Focus for print walk
When planning for a print walk have a think about what aspects of reading, writing, speaking and listening that you will focus on. Your focus could include:
- Letter sound relationships;
- Phonemic awareness;
- Word recognition;
- Conventions of print;
- Meaning; and
- Whole text features.
Once you’ve got your focus for the day, the next part is to set the task for your students. It could be as simple as the students move around the room and find words that begin with a certain sound.
It also helps if students have a dedicated print walk book that they can use to collect their words, sentences, phrases etc that they find.
Print walk tasks
Here are some other examples of print walk tasks:
Provide each student with a paper bag and some pieces of paper. Have your students go around the room and find items that start with a particular sound. They write the word on the piece of paper and add it to their bag. If your students aren’t at the writing phase, then they can collect items and place them in their bags or draw a picture on the paper and add it to the bag.
Have your students find particular focus words around the room and then get them to create a sentence using those words.
This task allows your students to identify and categorize words according to a selected criteria. Some sorts could include: picture sorts, beginning letter sorts, number of letter sorts and sound sorts. You could also incorporate physical word sorts. For example, if your students have been learning some of the ways to spell the /ae/ sound, then each student can be provided with a card that has a word on it that has the focus sound. Then have your students move around the room looking for other students that could match with them. So for the sound /ae/ you could have groups with the spelling of the sound ‘ai’ in rain, ‘a-e’ in cake, ‘ay’ in play and ‘ea’ in great.
Trip to the moon
Begin by saying to your students, “We’re going on a trip to the moon. You can come if you bring something…” Then provide a criterion for your students to answer. Students then move around the room and find a word that fits the criterion, which they can write in their books. Some examples could include: you can come if you bring something…that rhymes with man….that starts with the sound /s/….that has 3 syllables….
This is great to use with some of the charts you have in the room. You could also pick a song, chant or rhyme to use. On the chart delete some of the words. Then write the deleted words on small cards or sticky notes. Have students select the appropriate cards to fill the gaps.
There are many other generic games and activities you could use as part of your print walk, such as: I Spy, Bingo, Snap, Concentration, Dominoes, Odd One Out, Tic Tac Toe and the list goes on.
How have you conducted print walks with your class?