Classroom Activities to Develop
Children's Concepts about Print
and Alphabet Letter Recognition
In this chapter and the next, we describe instructional activities that are designed to help children acquire print processing skills. First, we address several issues that influence the nature of classroom activities designed to promote children's print processing skills. We discuss whether instruction should be embedded or separate, and to what extend instruction needs to be systematic and explicit. Finally, we describe research-based activities that are effective in developing 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds' concepts about print and increasing their ability to recognize alphabet letters.
No instruction is more hotly debated than instruction focused on developing young children's print processing skills. Teachers need to be aware of the issues surrounding printfocused instruction and be prepared to discuss their instructional decisions.
Early childhood teachers are protective of children, in many cases for good reason. They are concerned that play will disappear from preschool and kindergarten to be replaced by instruction delivered exclusively to whole groups. They worry that children will be required to complete worksheets, forced to sit at desks or tables for most of the day, and required to learn isolated facts. For that reason, NAEYC produced a statement describing developmentally appropriate instruction for preschool and kindergarten, and joined with IRA to produce a statement titled Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children, which describes developmentally appropriate