Print is part of our everyday world, but often we become oblivious to it. Young children, however, are alert and curious about the world around them. Very early children are able to identify print in the environment, and they will continue to add these words to their vocabulary if we help them.
Reading experts suggest building a child's personal sight vocabulary by labeling objects in your home, even before they learn the alphabet. Start by writing words on cards and placing them on objects around the house. A child will soon learn that the same word, "sink" for example, is on the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This will help your child associate the abstract words she sees in books with the concrete objects they represent.
* Put word cards you have used around the house into a bag and have your child pull one out and place it on the correct object.
* Cut out a large common word from the newspaper, such as "sale," and give your child a colored marker. Have her go through the pages and circle the word every time she sees it on the page.
* At the grocery store, as you wander down the aisle, ask your child to look for a product that begins with the same sound that begins her name.
* As you read aloud to your child, if you see one of the word labels you've used, point it out.
* Develop a scrapbook of environmental print with your child. For example, you may cut out the front of favorite cereals or cut out words in magazines of their favorite toys or foods and paste them along with a picture in the book.