Getting started on creating a print rich environment in your preschool classroom

Promote literacy in your classroom with a print rich environment

After you have been around the field of early childhood education for a time you will start to hear the words print rich environment. A print rich environment can be simply defined as a classroom where by young children are given many different opportunities to interact with many different forms of print. One way, among many, to introduce preschoolers to the reading and writing process is by giving them many opportunities to view print at home or at school in ways that are meaningful to them.

Using Labels

In this classroom, the teacher has created simple labels to identify furniture and other items that the children use in their daily routine.

You will notice that each of the words are in lower case letters. Since the words stand alone and are not a part of a sentence, we want to present the word in lower case form.

As children interact with the materials, furniture, and each other in the classroom, they will see the printed words often. By having the words placed strategically next to or on an item that the word represents, children will be given greater opportunity to associate the words to the objects.

Displaying Names of Children

Another important part of creating the print rich environment, is to display the names of each child. Notice that because a name is a formal word, the first letter is now capitalized and all other letters are in lower case.

More ways to Build a Print Rich Environment

Placing words on bulletin boards is another way to build a print rich environment. Words that are used as titles, names, days of the week, months of the year, and so forth should start with a capital letter followed by lower case letters.

Posters are another way to add to your print rich environment.

Placing Words at Eye Level

Where possible, try to place the words on objects that children use and interact with frequently and keep the words at the child’s eye level. But do not over label – a label on every chair, toy, book, or corner in your classroom is not necessary.

Other Tips

A print rich environment has many components and can be built a little at a time. To learn more about what else you can do to promote literacy in your classroom, you may enjoy reading this article!

By |2019-01-09T22:34:46+00:00August 26th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Annette W August 26, 2010 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Could you explain when it’s appropriate to transition to lowercase letters? I am not a preschool teacher, but my almost 4 yo knows all the capital letters, so maybe it’s time to use more lowercase with cards and posters we make.


    • Deborah J. Stewart August 26, 2010 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Hi Annette,
      Keep in mind that most of what we read and write is in lower case letters. Formal names, and the words that start a sentence start with capital letters and almost all other words are in lowercase. I say this so you will see why presenting lower case letters should begin early. There are some writing programs that emphasize only lower case letters knowing the capital letters will come naturally and more easily as children progress. I hope this helps:)

  2. Annette W August 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the feedback. I guess in my training (not preschool) it was not truly explained…but I wasn’t teaching such young children either.

  3. maryanne August 26, 2010 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    I bet my kids would enjoy labeling the house this way – can’t hurt to have a print rich home environment, right? =)

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