Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

Download the flyer (PDF)


Parent & Afterschool Resources

ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.



HomeParent & Afterschool ResourcesTips & How-To's


Read the World Around You


E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Read the World Around You

Grades K – 3

International Literacy Association

Tip Topic Tips for Reading To or With Kids
See all tips in this series

Why Use This Tip

What To Do


Why Use This Tip

It's a special day when a child opens a book and can, for the first time, read it without help. But did you know there are many successful moments leading up to that major accomplishment? One of the early, confidence-boosting ones occurs when children begin linking familiar sights (a stop sign, the label on the orange juice) with the words that appear on them. By encouraging these connections, you will send the message that a child is already on the way to being a successful reader.

Two important things to know about this activity: Children tend to be good at it and it is fun for them. When a child points out the box of macaroni and cheese, you can encourage further investigation. How do we know there's mac and cheese in there? What letter do we see at the beginning of the word “macaroni”? What are some other letters we see in that word? So there you have it. Mac and cheese is not only yummy, it's educational!

back to top


What To Do

  1. The first step is to see how many logos, brands, and labels the child already recognizes. Start at home in the kitchen with food and drinks, in the bathroom with soaps and other toiletries, and in the toy box with familiar toys. Then, take to the road. Which places, store names, restaurant names, and signs are familiar? Make a list, so you can gather a supply of these labels and logos. Use the Internet to print them out or use actual labels and empty containers.

  2. Help the child identify all the words on each label or logo. On labels, often there’s the brand name, the name of the product, and then some description of the product.

  3. Run through this list of questions any time you look at a label or logo together:

    • What letter do you see at the beginning?

    • What sound does that letter make?

    • Do you see other letters that you know?

    • Can you find another label or logo that starts with the same letter?
  4. For children who are already reading, increase the difficulty level by asking them to locate logos and labels that use consonant blends (two or more letters like the ch in Cheerios or the sp in spaghetti. You also can ask children to spot punctuation, cursive writing, and unusual spelling, such as Kids Kuts.

  5. Make an “I Can Read” book. Paste a label or logo on each page. Then, below that, help the child write a sentence about each one. For example: My mom loves Hershey’s chocolate. Read the book together, letting the child read as much as he or she can. You can do a variation of this book by basing it on the alphabet. Can you and the child find a label or logo for each letter?

  6. Create a label/logo matching game. Use three index cards to create cards bearing three versions of each label or logo. Include a full color version, a black and white version, and a card that contains only the printed words from the label of logo. For example: Tropicana orange juice. Run through the cards with the child. Which ones can he or she identify? Can he or she get both the color and black and white versions? Lay the cards out in rows so the child can see the progression from color, to black and white, to words only.

  7. For an added dimension, let the child sort the labels and logos. Create three piles: “love it, “like it,” and “don’t like it” Where will the green beans label go? In “love it,” we hope.

  8. Travel version! For this one, you’ll need only a small notebook. Words are all around us at home, on the car trip to school, on the train or bus, even in the doctor’s office as you wait your turn. When the child spots a label or logo in a magazine or on a sign, write the words clearly in the notebook “strawberry yogurt, Pittsburgh Steelers, Play-Doh.” Show the child what you’ve written to make the connection with the printed words on the page. Then give the child a personal challenge: Find labels and logos that start with the same letter as his or her first name.

back to top