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The Library's reading rooms are open. Before you visit, please read Visiting the Library. 

Concepts of print

Concepts of print involves understanding how books and print function and their conventions and the ability to distinguish print from images and understanding that both can (co)construct meaning.

Child and adult looking at picture book

Concepts of print means that children understand reading flows from left to right across the page, from top to bottom and sweeps from one line to the next. (Noting that in some scripts including Arabic, Hebrew and Chinese the orientation is different). It also means understanding that the letters and words on the page convey a message and the illustrations in a book correspond to the print.  Every book has a front, back, and an author.

Learning objectives for children and corresponding strategies for library staff

Birth to 12 months

Literacy learning objectives for childrenEducator strategies to support children's learning

For children to:

Physically touch, explore and manipulate a range of board books. 

Watch other children and adults handling books.  

Have attractive books readily available for babies to touch and handle.  

Talk to caregivers about the value of sharing books with babies. 

12 to 24 months

Literacy learning objectives for childrenEducator strategies to support children's learning

For children to:

Recognise that print and pictures are visually distinct on the page. 

Develop book handling skills (e.g. turning pages). 

Model book handling skills.  

Use language for talking about language, books, print and literacy (e.g. ‘page’, ‘book’, ‘pictures’ and ‘words’). 

2 -3 years

Literacy learning objectives for childrenEducator strategies to support children's learning

For children to: 

Begin to understand that print conveys meaning.  

Further develop concepts such as orientation and directionality. 

Point out environmental print in library (e.g. ‘Exit’, ‘Loan Returns’ signs) and explain its meaning.  

Read books in which print is visually distinct from picture and draw children’s attention to print.  

3 -5 years

Literacy learning objectives for childrenEducator strategies to support children's learning

For children to: 

Develop concepts of authorship, illustration, and book layout.  

Verbalise responses to characters and other textual elements.  

Allow wait time for children to respond. 

Share your own responses to book with children.  

Group of adults and children looking at books on a table

Ideas for storytime 

  • use a big book and point to words as the story is read to show left to right directionality  
  • explain the format of a book – cover, pages, title, author and illustrator 
  • show children and parents how to hold and share a book together  
  • label furniture and other things around the library and then point out words  
  • give parents with handouts for rhymes, fingerplays and songs so they can practice at home