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Environmental print is the very first type of written word most children learn to “read” (except their name). Environmental print is just what the name implies; it’s printed material that is part of everyday life. Does your child recognize the logo to cereals, your favorite restaurants or stores? That’s reading environmental print!

My son has recently started reading signs such as STOP and Zoo, so I decided to take this opportunity to make a DIY Environmental Print book of signs for him. It was so simple and he LOVES it! I also made a matching game with the signs-like Memory only with environmental print material instead!

Gather your materials:

  • Photo book
  • Pictures of environmental print that sparks your child’s interest

All you need to do is take pictures around town of signs and places you visit to get started. It’s okay to get pictures with and without words. Reading pictures is an important prereading skill as well! Once you get a collection of signs simply develop them. I picked up a $1 photo book at the dollar store to make my Environmental Print Book.When you read the book with your child, point right to the words and pictures to figure out what they say together. After once or twice, ask your child open ended questions such as, “What do you think this says?” or “Hmm…I wonder what that picture means.” This will encourage them to study the photos instead of just guessing as to what they say. I made it a point to take several photos of signs with the word “NO” in it–such as No Parking, No Dogs Allowed, No Dumping and No Skateboarding. I point out the word “no” every time we come across it and even spell it from time to time. Every little bit of interaction and reading together helps!

Another thing I did with my photos was to make a matching game, similar to Memory. When I got the pictures developed, I not only got them developed at the regular size, but I also developed in the wallet size. Check where you get your pictures printed, but where I do, the wallet size is printed with each photo twice. All I had to do to create the matching game was cut the two pictures apart. Viola! Your very own Environmental Print Memory Game!