Not Just Books


By including the print that is used in the home and in the world, children interact with writing as they see adults doing daily, they see firsthand there are very different ways to use print. This sparks an interest that leads to learning.

Tools and Materials

Household items with printing, mail items magazines, paper and writing/drawing tools computer or handheld device

Steps to take

Steps detailed below

At Home

If you have 3 minutes

  • Boxes and Labels- Look for print in the home, find it on cereal, macaroni and cheese, dinner kits, canned food, toy packaging, movies and DVDs, CD-ROM and video games magazines and TV guides.
  • Have your child get the mail and sort it together. Talk about the different forms (letters, advertisements, bills).
  • When paying bills, allow your child to write their own "checks" on scrap paper or type on a play computer as you pay bills online! Continue to allow your child to work alongside you as create grocery lists, take messages from callers, call in a pizza order and write letters to families and friends.
  • Reading/writing should be part of all pretend play. Think about ways to include the written word into your child's doctor, airplane, grocery story , pizza parlor or movie theater play.


On the Go

If you have 3 minutes 

  • Take a walk to a local grocery store, book store, or newsstand  and look at all the magazines available. Talk with your child about the different types of magazines available (car magazines, sporting, fashion, bridal etc...). Visit another neighborhood where books, magazines and newspapers are available in another language. See if your child notices the difference in text forms (check your library). If you have more time
  • Play police officer outside on bikes or with toy cars. Let your child write you a ticket!
  • Work with your child to cut out coupons from a newspaper. Allow your child to be "in-charge" of a couple of coupons, handing them to the cashier, show them where the coupons are deducted on the receipt, if possible, give your child the equivalent amount of money for her piggy-bank.

Words to Know

magazine    notes    lists    letters.   computer

Possible Observations

Finds letters and words on containers, labels, signs; sorts; imitates making a list; makes some letters for a pretend list