It’s Day 10! We are a third of the way through our Ready for Kindergarten: 30 Days of Activities, Ideas, and Learning Fun series! I hope you’ve been enjoying some of the ideas and activities with your child this summer. Kindergartners are joyful and eager learners – so ready to explore and play!

Today’s post focuses on your child’s concepts about print. When I was teaching kindergarten, we gave an assessment called CAP (concepts about print) to our students several times throughout the year.

With varying degrees of experience with read-alouds, bedtime stories, shared reading experiences, and solo time with books, children begin school with different ideas about the conventions we use to convey  meaning in print.

Kindergarten students need to develop an understanding of how print works. These foundational literary understandings are sort of like the building blocks of reading. Children need to demonstrate an understanding of the of the following things:

*I have highlighted the understandings that gave my students the most difficulty.

Book directionality/sequencing

  • Where is the front of the book?
  • Which way do we read a book? (Ie- front to back, first page to last page, etc.)
  • Understands where to begin reading a story (Say, “Open the book to where we begin reading the story.”)
  • When you come to the last word on a page, ask, “Where do I continue reading?” and see if they go to the next page.
  • Your child should understand a “print sweep.” This means that they should know that after reading one line of text on a page, that they go to the second line of text to continue reading.

Print directionality

  • Which ways is the text read? (from left to right, top to bottom)
  • Say, “Show me where to begin reading.” Your child should be able to point to the first word on the page. Ask “Where do I read next?” and see if they point to the next word, or if they skip to the next page.

Print Contains Meaning

  • Letters form words.
  • Words form sentences.
  • Words and sentences convey meaning.
  • Can differentiate between the illustrations and the text (“Show me the pictures. Show me the words.”)
  • Your child should have a “one to one correspondence” understanding of print. This means that he/she should understand that each word on the page represents one spoken word. Ask your child to point to each word as you read. (For those that can’t read, they should still be able to move their finger each time a new word is read aloud.)

Difference Between a Letter and a Word

  • Show me one letter.”
  • “Show me one word.”
  • “Show me the first letter in a word.”
  • “Show me the last letter in a word.”

Your child should have an understanding of the following terms:

  • word
  • letter
  • sentence
  • period

One way to help your child develop understandings about print is to speak aloud while reading to them. This may feel silly or unnatural at first, but it is very important. Simply talk about what you’re doing. “I’m going to turn to the first page in this book. I’m starting at the top of the page. See this word (as you point), or “I see a letter “t” in this word. Can you find that letter? This mark is a period. Just talk and read!!! Read until your tongue is tired!

The single most important thing you can do to help your child develop these understandings is to read to them. Read. Read. Read. It is imperative that students read and/or are read to for a minimum of 20 minutes EVERY day.


I could ALWAYS tell which of my students had families that embraced reading. Make it a goal to read even 2 or 3 picture books to your child daily. Ask some of these questions as you read, checking for understanding, and building understanding where there is none. You are helping grow a lover of books and stories into a life-long lover of literacy and learning. Reading matters!

100 Picture Books You MUST Read Your Child

100 Chapter Books You MUST Read Your Child

I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for Day 11 of our Ready for Kindergarten: 30 Days of Activities, Ideas, and Learning Fun series!

In case you missed it:

Day One: Scissors

Day Two: Name Writing and Name Recognition

Day 3: Pre-Reading

Day 4: Self-Help Skills

Day 5: Turn-Taking

Day 6: Picture Writing

Day 7: Quick Goodbyes

Day 8: Surviving Lunchtime

Day 9: Exploring Colors