In an early learning environment, a print-rich environment is one that provides opportunities, tools and materials for children to see and use written language for a variety of purposes. We start by teaching our young children the alphabet, helping them to learn to recognize each letter in preparation for reading and writing as they grow.
In the digital world we live in, children will see the letters of the alphabet and words printed in a variety of font styles. From street signs, restaurant and store logos (i.e. Dunkin Donuts, Target) to food logos (i.e. Cheerios) – children are exposed to print in a variety of font styles and colors.
Viewing the alphabet in different fonts
The basic elements that comprise the formation of letters of the alphabet remains the same (for the most part) in many fonts. For example, the letter “A” is made up of two lines that come to a point at the top, with a short line connecting the other lines horizontally. So, children can begin to recognize that “A” can look like …
… even though the font is different in each case.
ACTIVITY: Exploring alphabet letters with many font styles
A great addition to your classroom or homeschool writing center is to add pre-printed alphabet letters of various fonts. Using a word processor and printer, you can print up some letters and cut them out into squares. Then leave them out and allow children to explore as they wish.
Many children will initially seek out the letters of their name, or try to spell words they know (like “MOM” or “YOU”).
But then, they may try to sound out other words. And if they can’t find the letter they want, they may improvise!
By leaving this activity open-ended, it allows children to explore the alphabet at their own pace and in a way that makes sense to them.
ACTIVITY: Clothespin Letter Matching
Another idea is to do a letter matching activity. The picture below uses foam sticker letters attached to clothespins – and a printed paper with alphabet letters. Children then try to attach each letter clothespin to the matching letter on the paper. Great fine motor activity combined with literacy! You can change it up with a new printed sheet each week in a different font.
OTHER IDEAS: Take a look at our post that shows some ways to explore letters and fonts through the use of environmental print in the classroom!