Practice POP for developing early literacy skills

What is POP?

Point Out Print

It’s not enough for your child to just see print around them. To learn how print works, you’ll need you to draw their attention to it.


It’s easier than you think

You don’t need any special tools or activities to build your child’s print knowledge. Simply by talking about the print you see in your child’s environment, you can do so much to encourage your child’s learning.

Your child needs to learn Print Knowledge

The understanding of how print works is called print knowledge and it’s one of the critical early literacy skills your child needs to be prepared for school.

Before your child can learn to read or write, there are many things they need to understand about print.

  • Print has meaning
    • Print represents spoken language
    • Books are used in specific ways (for example, they are held right side up and read from front to back)
    • Print is read is a specific order – we read from left to right and from top to bottom
    • Print includes letters, words, spaces and punctuation marks
    • Letters of the alphabet combine to make words
    • Letters have names, as well as upper case and lower case forms
    • Words are separated by spaces
    • Words are combined to make up sentences

POP – Point Out Print

POP is a strategy you can use during any daily routine or activity to draw different aspects of print to your child’s attention. The more you POP, the more opportunities your child will have to think and understand how print works.


POP as you engage with a story book

Here are some ways you can Point Out Print during book reading. (It’s best to do only 2 or 3 of these things during one reading so you don’t overwhelm your child or interrupt the story too much.)

• Point out the title, author and illustrator of the book.

• Show how we read from left to right on the page.

• Explain that print in speech balloons tells us what the character is saying.

• Explain that illustrations show us what’s happening in the story.

• By tracking with your finger, show that the words being read match the words on the page, with spaces in between.

• Explain how letters work – say the names of letters, especially the first letter in a word, and point out some upper-case letters.


POP while you shop.

Grocery shopping can be a wonderful early literacy excursion. Encourage your child to find the names of foods on the packages. Read the words and name some letters in the words, or ask your child to name the letters. For example, you can say: “Can you find the ‘g’ in yoghurt?” Keep it simple and fun.


You can POP everyday in so many ways.

Here’s a few more ideas.

As you go about your day together, opportunities to POP will be everywhere

  • Breakfast– Point out the colourful letters on the front of a cereal box or a carton of milk.

    • Getting dressed or folding laundry – If your child has clothing with print on it, read the print while tracking the words with your finger.

    • Bath-time – On a shampoo or bubble bath bottle, find a word that begins with the same letter as your child’s name. For example: “That word says ‘soft.’ ‘Soft’ begins with the letter S, just like your name – Sarah.”
  • On a walk – Talk about the print you see on store signs, street signs, vehicles and posters. Make a game of spotting print all around you. You can also look for signs with more than one word, like “No Parking,” “Pedestrian Crossing” or “Do not enter.” Make a game of guessing what the sign says.

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