FREE Environmental Print Unit

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It is the beginning of the year! I feel like I JUST had a class full of readers! Wasn’t it just May?!

But here we are in August with a fresh new set of sweet kindies. And if your class is like mine, most of them don’t even know the first letter in their name.

So where do I even start with teaching these adorable kiddos how to read?


Well the good thing is that most already know how to read (sort of!)

Almost all five year olds can “read” STOP, McDonalds, Oreo, Dairy Queen and Cherrios.

Environmental print is everywhere, and the exciting thing is that kids know that signs, or words, have meaning.

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This is the foundation of reading. Words have meaning. So this is where we start!

I actually have a lot of fun with this unit and I get my parents and families involved too.

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I send home this letter explaining what Environmental Print is, and how we need their help! I ask parents to send in labels from cereal boxes, drinks, wrappers from groceries, tags from new clothes, etc.

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I want my kiddos to realize that they already know so many words in the world around us! We are going to sort these words based on the letter they start with.

I kindly ask parents to cut the wrappers out instead of sending the entire bag of chips, or the whole cereal box. This will save you time and space!

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I made each poster half of a page. I originally had a full size of paper for each letter, but I just don’t have the wall space to hang them all up!

You could also make a little book for each student which I have done in the past. I decided that I like to display them on the wall so we can go over and refer to them often. They are so cute hanging on the wall, and it gives my students so much confidence to be able to read the words.

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Now I get to introduce CAP skills using an activity that is already fun for the kiddos. I use pocket chart sentences all year long, especially with my poetry units.

We practice left to right directionality, sight words, spaces between words, 1:1 correspondence (pick up your finger and move to say the next word) etc.

I move the environmental print words each time and tell the students I am going to “trick them!” They love this.

Once they have the hang of reading these sentences, they take turns coming up to point and read.

Check out this adorable video below of one of my little readers.


I spread this unit over a couple of days, so we read the word CAN over and over. This gives me the perfect opportunity to teach my class our sight word routine using the word CAN.

Teaching the first few sight words in the school year can be tedious because everything is so new… including scissors and glue. Having aides or parent helpers is a huge blessing! Students will get the routine of sight words, so just keep modeling and explaining.

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I introduce every new sight word with a flashcard (you can print mine for FREE HERE)

I give a ton of examples using the new word - usually using student names for engagement purposes. “Sarah CAN write her name,” or “Justin CAN kick the soccer ball.” They can’t wait to hear who will be in my sight word sentence.

Then we complete the sight word spelling page shown here.

Next, we practice the word in context and use our sight word fluency pages (I do these the day after we complete the spelling cut/paste activity shown above.)

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These come in both color and black and white. I always use these in small groups to make sure students are using their magic reading finger (touching each word as they say it). They color a star each time they read the passage correctly. We practice with these through out the week.

At the end of the week we finish up the word CAN by using it in a sentence. Again, since this is the very first sight word I’m teaching my kinders, I sometimes just do this activity as a group.


But the exciting part is that by the end of the week, using my sight word kit and the Environmental Print unit, my kiddos are reading the word CAN! We have already learned so many concepts about print.

I do this same routine every week for teaching new sight words. You can print these sight word resources for the word CAN for FREE CLICK HERE

Read my full blog post on sight words and watch a video on how I use resources HERE

Ready to start this Environmental Print unit with your kiddos?

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This activity is FREE in my Exclusive Freebie Library. If you are not a member yet, you can sign up HERE

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You’ll receive an email with a link and password so you can access this freebie and so many other free resources right away!

Have you printed my FREE first day of kindergarten lesson plans?

This mini Environmental Print unit is the perfect introduction to one unit I cover first in kindergarten… Labeling!