This month’s Book Nook topic is...

Building Print Knowledge with Over-Scheduled Andrew


To be able to read and write, children need to understand quite a bit about print. Print knowledge means understanding how print works (for example, that it represents spoken language, and that letters of the alphabet combine to make words).

Some aspects of print knowledge may seem so obvious to us that we don’t even consider them. But the fact is that children are starting with a clean slate and nothing will be obvious to them until someone helps them understand it.

One of these elements of print knowledge is understanding that we read print from left to right and from the top to the bottom of a page. This is important foundational knowledge because a child can’t begin to read or write unless they understand it.

Here are some simple tips for building this particular aspect of print knowledge.

Let’s get started!

The Book:

Over-Scheduled Andrew written and illustrated by Ashley Spires

Why I picked it:

Over-Scheduled Andrewis a funny story about an enthusiastic chickadee who signs up for more activities than he can handle. It’s a great book for showing that we read print from left to right because the first letter on each page is big and colourful, which helps to draw your child’s attention to the appropriate place to start reading.

POP to build print knowledge

POP or Point Out Print is the key strategy we use at Hanen for building print knowledge. By making an effort to point out print during book reading, you give your child more opportunities to think and talk about the print they see.

An important thing to remember with POP is not to over-use it. The most important goal with book reading is always enjoyment, so you want to make sure that drawing your child’s attention to print isn’t interfering with the fun of book reading or with your child’s understanding of what’s happening in the story.

One way to avoid over-using POP and overwhelming your child is to change how you POP as the child becomes more familiar with the book. And that’s what we’ll talk about below.

The first time you read the book:

The first time you read Over-Scheduled Andrew, you don’t want to say too much about the print because the book will be brand new to your child and he’ll be focusing on understanding the story and looking at the fun illustrations of Andrew’s activities. So what you can do at this point is just track your finger along the words as you say them. This will show your child that we read print from left to right without interfering with the flow of the story.

The second time you read the book:

Now that your child is more familiar with the story, you can pause a few times during the reading to Point Out Print. Over-Scheduled Andrew has a brightly coloured first letter on every page, so it’s easy to point it out for your child and say, “Look, this is where we start to read – then we go from left to right and from top to bottom of the page.” Then you can read the page, continuing to track with your finger to demonstrate for your child what you just described.

The third time you read the book:

This time, you can try asking your child a question to see if he remembers what you pointed out in the last reading. You could ask, “Can you show me where we start to read on this page?” and wait to see if the child points to the correct word. If he does, you could say, “That’s right. It says...” and then read the words on the page. If your child doesn’t seem aware of where the words start, you could say “I think we start over here” (pointing with your finger) “at the top left of the page”.

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