At the beginning of first grade, teachers are reviewing things learned from kindergarten and also introducing basic print concept ideas. In Common Core ELA, kindergarten and first grade are the only grades that teach print concepts, so they’re expecting mastery in first grade. Once students get to second grade, print concepts are not taught as units or standards. They may still get some review if the teacher chooses or in small group for struggling readers, but mastering print concepts has to happen in the first grade.
So print concepts in first grade refer to the basic features of a book and basic features of a sentence. These standards align with print concepts. They are found in the Reading: Foundational Skills domain.
So, here are a few activities and lessons that can help you teach the standard and help your first graders with mastering print concepts.
Anchor Charts and Mini Lessons
Anchor charts and mini lessons are a great way to get started with print concepts. Giving students lots of direct instruction, followed up with partner activities is very important. Above, shown in the picture, you see a collection of print concepts anchor charts, plus a few hands-on activities where the students apply the knowledge they just learned.
Centers for Mastering Print Concepts
Another idea for extra practice is centers. I have four centers in my print concepts unit. They cover sentence features, such as capital letters and punctuation. They also include features of a book that they are reading. For instance, to look for the title and author and the first word on a page. Getting them familiar with print is necessary for successful reading in the future.
Worksheets and Printables
Worksheets and printables are useful to use when mastering print concepts. Make sure to use them in moderation and have it be truly purposeful. I’m not a big supporter of worksheet packets, but I do think partner activities or interactive worksheets that keep students engaged are beneficial. The two pictures shown have students creating their own sentences while focusing on capital letters and punctuation. The other worksheet has students act as teacher and to write about the ways to read a book.
Interactive Notebooks are a huge hit in the classroom. Using these print concept templates will help the students learn the same content but in a different format.
Pre- and Post-Assessments
And finally, an assessment. On the right, you see a pre-assessment, which students will take before a unit. After the unit, there is a 2-page post-assessment. This will cover what they’ve learned through the entire unit. The packet that I’ve created comes with a script to read while administering these assessments.