Early Literacy Tip: Point Out Words in Your Child’s Environment

What children need to know about reading and writing before they can read or write is called early literacy.

As your child’s caregiver, you are their first teacher. The greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five, a time your child spends with you. By age three, 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed. As a child ages, the brain gets rid of weaker synaptic connections in favor of stronger ones. We can improve the strength of synaptic connections with experiences that reinforce learning that has already occurred.

In our Building Blocks to Early Literacy series, we will share early literacy tips for you to do at home to help your child get ready to learn to read.

Today’s Early Literacy Tip: Point Out Words in Your Child’s Environment

This is not the same thing as pointing out objects and naming them, this simply means pointing out words on signs as you and your child are out and about. Street signs, store signs, marquees; all of these let a child know that printed letters stand for spoken words and give them a sense of how printed letters are used in their everyday lives. This will also help children understand how important printed words are and how they have information that is helpful to them every day.

You can also do this at home by pointing out words around your house. They can be on decorations or even something as simple as a cereal box.

The more consistent you are in pointing out words, the more familiar with those words your child will become and they will be better able to recognize them later.


The library is full of books that contains signs, pictures of signs or large pictures full of text or signs. Some authors you can seek out are listed below. You can also search our Early Reader collection; these books contain relatively short words, larger print and fewer words per page.

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