Environmental Print
Ideas and Links

Children are surrounded by "environmental print." It is on store signs, road signs, billboards, fast food places, boxes, wrappers, etc. Many children know their favorite cereal, candy bar and restaurant and they can recognize its logo. We can take advantage of their natural interest to learn more about letters, sounds and words by using the print they see all around them.

Mrs. Jones' Environmental Print Class Project
This note goes home in the beginning of the year:
Please send in any packaging that has words beginning with The Letter/Sound of the Week or has one of The Words of the Week on it. Please save boxes, packages or labels from food, toys or household products. Send them in anytime in your child's folder with his/her name on them. Thanks!

I hang some of the labels near the water fountain in our room so the children can practice reading with a buddy while waiting for their turn to get a drink. When we "Write the Room" some children like to write the labels they know.

With the leftover labels I made an ABC book using clear sheet protectors. I had 6 different colors of paper so made a color pattern from A to Z. For each letter I glued the upper and lower case letter at the top. I glued on labels that had prominent words beginning with that particular letter. I slid "Aa" on one side of the protector and "Bb" on the other side, etc., so used 13 protectors for the 26 letters. (You can tape the open end shut, if you wish, or leave it open if you want to add labels to the pages.) I made a cover and bound it with yarn. It is a fun book to read!

I found a fun idea at Dr. Jean's site that I adapted. We made What's for Breakfast? at the beginning of the year. Many of the children eat cereal and can recognize their favorite kind by looking at the box. Each child brought in the box from their favorite cereal. I trimmed it to include the front panel and the skinny panel to the left. I poked the holes in the skinny panel. With a marker, I wrote above the cereal name: "(name of child) likes to eat"

Note to Parents
Our class is going to make a book using the package from your child’s favorite cereal as one of the pages. Please send in the whole box as soon as your child is finished eating all the cereal. Write your child’s name on one of the end flaps. When the book is complete, each child will have a chance to take it home to share with their family.

Here are the pages I used in our book.
I included word cards in a pocket, so if interested, the child could do a word search in the book. Plus, I asked questions about each class' book based on the cereal boxes in their book.

Our school collects "Boxtops for Education" so I included a page about what cereals have a boxtop. http://www.boxtops4education.com/downloads/global/products.pdf

Before sending the book home with the first child, I modeled how to read it during our small group time. We read each sentence: "(name of child) likes to eat (name of cereal)." I asked 3 questions about each class' book. I gave each child a word card and, on 3 pages I picked, he/she looked for his/her word.

Links to Websites about Environmental Print

Environmental Print Book

Take your digital camera with you shopping and photo the package.
I use the photos to make bingo cards, matching games, classroom and take home books.
Your photos can be resized to fit your needs and easy to get to.
--submitted by Kelley Martinez of Wellston Early Childhood Center in St. Louis Mo.

Northwest Territory Literacy Council
Organizing an Environmental Print Games Night
p. 10 Matching Cards   p.15 - 35 Bingo Game

Environmental Print Matching and Sorting Cards

Pictures of Street signs

Pictures of Candy Wrappers
http://bradkent.com:8080/wrappers/    alphabetical list

Vintage Labels - toys, foods, displays, etc.

Selection of Logos

3 Monthly Ideas with Send Home Letters for "Trash Reading"

Environmental Print Activities

From Stop Signs to the Golden Arches:
Environmental Print

Ideas for using Environmental Print in your Classroom with a photo gallery

Ways to Use Environmental Print

Creating a Print Rich Environment

I Can Read Environmental Print: Overview and Lessons

Environmental Print Song and Activities from Sharon MacDonald

A List of Environmental Print Links

Classroom Signs
Thematic Center Signs

Fun With Labels

Anchor word for the short a sound: apple
We emphasize the short a sound at the end of September. We talk about "apples" and ask the parents to send in any label that has the word "apple" on it. By the end of the week we can see all the different ways to fix apples: sauce, pie, juice, fresh in a bag, breakfast bar, in a cereal, in oatmeal, etc.

Demonstrate the strategy: Look for little words in big words
We emphasize the short i sound in November and "it" is one of our "Words of the Week." One day we looked for the word "it" in our easy readers then the next day I hung the labels for Ritz crackers, Skittles and a Kit Kat bar on the board. We played "The Detective Game" where the children have to be very observant, just like a detective, to notice things that are alike about words. I get the usual answers of the letter "i" and the letter "t" and hope someone notices we are studying "it" and "i" and "t" put together make the word "it."

Using a Digital Camera in the Classroom

Labels for your classroom: book bins, calendar, center signs, job chart and more!
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