Book Awareness: Everything You Need to Know

This is the knowledge of how books work. Book awareness helps the child understand that books contain letters and words, which carry meaning and are related to the spoken language. Book awareness also includes an understanding of what books are used for and how they function, which covers how to turn the pages, find their top and bottom sections, identify the title, and the book’s front and back covers.

For children, book awareness is their earliest introduction to literacy. Children who have book awareness can do things like holding a book correctly, knowing that books are read from front to back, and have words and sentences, which need to be read from left to right. They also get clarity about words that consist of letters and spaces appearing between words. Without book awareness, children will be unable to develop other literacy skills such as spelling, reading, and handwriting.

Book awareness in children doesn’t emerge magically and on its own. Instead, it comes about through the active intervention of adults, who read aloud stories from different books while pointing out the letters, words, and other print features that children will usually find in their surroundings. When children are read to regularly, they’re able to play with words and find the meaning of a book’s printed text. When they receive formal reading instructions, they start to understand how books work, how they’re read, why they need to turn the pages in the right direction, and much more.

Book awareness also includes interactive reading with adults, which helps the children learn about a book’s different features, such as the book’s title, names of the author and the illustrator, and the page number. They also learn about handling books the right way, including holding them properly, turning the pages correctly, identifying the book’s front and back cover, etc.

Parents can hand them a book with the back cover facing up or the book being upside down to see if their children have book awareness. Those who have book awareness will flip it over or turn the book around to ensure it’s facing the correct way for them to read. Parents may even ask their children questions about pointing to the book’s title and author’s name, its back or front cover, or the book’s spine. Though some young children may find answering these questions difficult, it would be a great way to teach them about books and how they function.

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