Creating a Literacy Rich Environment

Creating a literacy rich environment can be a teacher’s strongest tool that sets the stage for student success all year long.

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What is a literacy rich environment?

An environment where children are exposed to and offered multiple ways to interact with: letters, books, environmental print, and writing materials. 

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An alphabet frieze created by students at Rosa Parks ECEC

Letters

Exposing students to letters is a crucial part of creating a literacy rich environment. This can be done in a multitude of ways, but here are a few ideas:

  • Student made alphabet frieze
  • Writing letters on loose parts such as rocks or wood cookies
  • Using letter tiles or loose keyboard keys as loose parts
  • Creating alphabet flip books to place in various centers
  • Magnetic letters
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Library center in a Rosa Parks ECEC classroom

Books

One of the most obvious ways to incorporate books into the classroom is through a classroom library!

The key to making the classroom library a popular place to visit is by making it cozy and inviting. A place where children feel inclined to curl up on a soft pillow and read a book. However, the library is not the only place books should be found in the classroom.

Books should also be placed in centers! Here are some ideas of books to place in each center:

  • Art
    • The Dot
    • The Day the Crayons Quit
    • Ish
    • Harold and the Purple Crayon
    • Mouse Paint
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                                   An art center at Rosa Parks ECEC

  • Blocks/Math
    • Iggy Peck Architect
    • Rosie Revere Engineer
    • Transportation Books (Fiction or Nonfiction)
    • Nonfiction Architecture Books
    • 10 Black Dots

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      A block/math center at Rosa Parks ECEC

  • Science
    • Any nonfiction book about your current investigation
    • The Salamander Room
    • Ada Twist Scientist
    • Robots, Robots, Everywhere!
    • Everybody Needs a Rock
    • I Spy books
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A science center at Rosa Parks ECEC

  • Dramatic Play
    • Cook books
    • Menus
    • Phone books
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A dramatic play center at Rosa Parks ECEC

  • Light and Shadow
    • Light, Shadows, Mirrors, and Rainbows
    • Whose Shadow is This?
    • Fun with Hand Shadows
    • Shadows and Reflections
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A light and shadow center at Rosa Parks ECEC

Environmental Print

Environmental print is print that is naturally seen in homes, streets, or anywhere in the child’s environment. This may include, but not limited to:

  • Street signs
  • Branded food containers or packaging labels
  • Popular restaurant menus

Here is an example of environmental print being used in a construction center.

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A construction center at Rosa Parks ECEC

Writing Materials

Giving students access to writing materials is crucial in developing writing skills. Children should have access to a variety of papers. These may include:

  • Construction paper
  • Copy paper
  • Blank books
  • Order forms
  • Graphing paper
  • Journals
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A writing center at Rosa Parks ECEC

Children should also have access to a variety of writing materials:

  • markers
  • pencils
  • colored pencils
  • crayons
  • stamps

When given these opportunities to interact with literacy so intently, you will find children developing a love of literacy and all things reading and writing without forcing anything upon them.

They begin to see the value in reading and writing.

They understand its purpose and want to use it more intentionally.

How do you get children excited about literacy?

What is one area of your classroom that you feel you could add more intentional literacy to?

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