Concepts About Print (PreK – 1st grade)

By Cindy Elkins – OK Math and Reading Lady

A child’s concepts about print (CAP) shows his/her understanding of how to orient text and their readiness to read. Click on the following link for a printable version of this CAP article. The last page of the article is an assessment which I found on MS Clip art (free). It was designed by Jen Jones @ Click here for a free copy of the following 2 CAP posters (8.5 x 11″ each).

Concepts about Print include:

  • Title
  • Author and illustrator
  • Front and back cover
  • Where to start reading
  • Directionality: left to right, top to bottom, return sweep
  • One-to-one correspondence (voice-print-match)
  • First and last part (of sentence or story)
  • Difference between letter, word, and sentence
  • Capitals / Upper case vs. lower case letters
  • Punctuation (Please call them by their correct names – not “Mystery Mark” or “Happy Mark”)
  • Pictures (which help determine meaning)

How to teach and practice CAP:

  1. Provide daily shared reading experiences with a big book , enlarged poem, or text on the SMARTboard.
  2. Focus on one concept about print at a time rather than trying to do all of them with each book.
  3. To help with directionality and one-to-one correspondence, use a pointer and/or stick-on arrows. Allow students to use the pointer to show where to begin, which way to go, etc.
  4. Provide previously read big books or poems at a student work station. Let students use a pointer to try to read them.
  5. Do sorting activities: letter vs. word vs. sentence
  6. Using pocket charts  have students arrange words in the correct order to copy sentences from previously read poems or patterned text from big books. Have the book or poem available to refer to.
  7. To help locate sight words in a story or poem:
    • Clip a large piece of process laminating film over the text and circle words with a marker. Then the laminating film can be wiped clean after using.
    • Display story on the SMARTboard and circle or underline focus sight words.
    • Make a framing card (index card with center cut out) for child to isolate a word. Teacher can say, “Find the word can. Put a frame around it.”

Please share (via comment on this blog) on other ways you teach and/or practice CAP.

Questions which the teacher can ask (also see page 4 of above article link for an assessment form):

Can you show me:

  • How to hold the book?
  • The title?
  • The front cover? The back cover?
  • Where I should start reading?
  • Where is the first part? The last part?
  • One letter? Two letters?
  • One word? Two words?
  • A sentence?
  • How many words are in the sentence?
  • A space in the sentence?
  • The end of the sentence?
  • What these are for? (pointing to quotation marks)
  • A picture?

Clip art on the poster was provided free from MS Office.



2 thoughts on “Concepts About Print (PreK – 1st grade)

  1. Hello Cindy,

    I would like to say I have enjoyed reading your blog. I finally got the time to read them during our Christmas break. You have posted some great information. Thank you for sharing!

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