Monday, January 23, 2012

Digging for Literacy in Our Environment

As parents and teachers, we sometimes fail to realize how packed with opportunities for learning every day trips to seemingly ordinary places can be. One of these trips could be a tour to the local supermarket. Supermarkets are simply throbbing with environmental print and special vocabulary. Some of the words that are supermarket specific that children get to learn while on a visit are the following:




Health and Beauty

Head (of lettuce)








Check out

Customer service





These and other terms can expand a child's creative thinking and allow them opportunity to develop more complex thoughts and participate in more mature conversations. Including our children in talk while we shop at a market will open their minds to vocabulary that may seem simple and obvious to us, but is wonderfully new to them.

Many of the conversations that were happen on visits to supermarkets are filled with questions and answers. Questions about the locations of items, questions about what one or another person wants for dinner, and commonly asked by children, requests for specific items on the shelves.

These requests come from a child's understanding of environmental print. Children have been previously exposed to labels and logos and through commercials and advertisements, they have developed a desire for, but more importantly an understanding of what those labels and logos are symbolizing. In their requests for items that are special to them, they are showing how they have created meaning in their environment, and through more exposure to and discussion of the activities and items surrounding them, they will have the knowledge to create even more meaning.

1 comment:

  1. Very well-organized and well-thought-out blog! I agree that a supermarket can help children develop their literacy skills.