Monday, September 19, 2011

Environmental Print as a Tool for Literacy

Did you know that nearly 93% of children 3-5 years old can recognize the McDonald's brand? It is true, brands are all around us and young children just learning how to read are not excluded from absorbing the huge amount of ads that are constantly around us.

[Brands Targeting Children]

Many do not realize the role this recognition of brands play in early literacy. A child is making meaning out of their day and the things around them constantly. The brands they interact with and the things that their families expose them to on a regular basis become ingrained in their identity and forms a personal connection to that item. 

While association with brands in the classroom is usually frowned upon, easily recognized brands can be used to promote literacy and the ability to recognize symbols. At such a young age, recognizing brand names on products can be used to encourage exploration of text that they are familiar with.

Parents and educators can get creative and use subjects closely associated with brands to create different activities such as:
  • Upon recognition of brands related to food and restaurants, you can move onto a social activity such as pretending to be in a restaurant and store, and explore more types of literacy such as reading menus, ordering etc. 
  • Hygienic brand products may be used in activities highlighting healthy practices or during dramatic play. For example, a student pretending to be a dentist working on a patient may find a brand of toothpaste to give to their patient before leaving.
  • Any activity that can incorporate a well-known brand is beneficial by simply having the children recognize and explore the print.
With this knowledge in the back of your mind, think of creative ways to engage your child or student with the print around them. It is easy and convenient on the go, while building unique literacy skills.


  1. The way you addressed your audience is light-hearted yet quite effective. Starting off by addressing the reader with an interesting, relevant fact is a great way to start off. Giving them options to engage in creative activities was not only a great resource to provide, but it also broke up the post well. You organized this post so well! Another point of discussion that I appreciated was your closing.
    You really went the extra mile by providing additional resources to further investigate.

  2. I feel a strength of your posts is being able to make the readers feel at ease with your topic. You give good information and add little touches work in connecting with the reader. For example your statistic at the beginning I think grounds the reader with something a little surprising buy believable. Also the pictures are always nice. Good job

  3. It was great that you talked about food brands and then making it into an activity. I think that keeping the children engaged is huge in the classroom. If they are having a good time then they will be more likely to stat interested in what you are explaining. They will be excited to learn and eager to hear what you have to say.

  4. I like the idea of turning something negative into a positive. Often times, brand recognition for unhealthy foods is looked very negative upon, and I agree. The facts are true though that these advertisements will continue, so to turn this exposure into a positive learning experience is a creative use previous knowledge.