Children are extremely observant and conscious and can often recognize popular logos and even know which products or services the logos represent. These skills are acquired much before they can read or write. Though children might not be able to read “Toys R Us”, they may likely recognize the sign as you drive by or stop in to spend way too much money.
Reading print from the world around us is one of the beginning stages of literacy development. This recognition is a big step towards literacy which means that your child is developing pre-reading skills. They are recognizing letters, numbers, shapes and colours found in logos such as McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Coke, and Campbell’s soup, to name a few – all providing opportunities for emerging readers to interact with print and written words in their environment.
If parents make an effort to point out logos and other examples of environmental print rather than relying on their children’s own observance, children will exhibit signs of emergent literacy earlier on.
While driving, ask your child to identify familiar signs such as a favourite restaurant or store. Empower your children and encourage their skills. Phrase your questions in way that encourages them, for example: “What does that sign say?” or, “Can you read that sign to me?” By phrasing the question this way, you are letting your child know that he or she is not just identifying a picture but reading the sign as well, instilling confidence in the process. Make things a bit more challenging by asking them to find signs that start with particular letters. Point out particular words such as “washroom, enter, or exit.”
These literacy activities set the stage for children to get excited about reading and writing. When children are excited about reading and print holds meaning for them they will learn much faster and begin to make connections to the world around them.