Culture & Language

Planned Language Approach: Book Knowledge and Print Concepts

Young children start to develop book knowledge and print concepts long before they can read. They learn about the written forms of the language or languages that adults share with them. Book knowledge is the understanding of how books and print work, like how to turn the pages of a book. Print awareness is the understanding that print is speech written down. Explore these resources to learn more about how young children build these key skills and how parents and families can help children develop them.

Book Knowledge and Print Concepts

Learn more about book knowledge and print concepts—important precursors to reading and writing. Explore the research around why book knowledge and print concepts matter and the roles language and culture play. Find out how to use books and the different types of children’s books that are available. Take a look at examples of effective practices at different stages of children’s development in various early learning settings.

How Parents and Families Support Book Knowledge and Print Concepts

Learn about specific research-based strategies that can help infants, toddlers, and preschoolers develop book knowledge and print concepts. Explore examples to see how to use these strategies in daily life.

Joan Talks About the Big 5: Book Knowledge and Print Concepts

Kindergartner Joan tells us about the language and literacy skills she has learned since birth. Joan's stories show how knowledgeable adults provided quality environments and resources, and intentional and planned instruction that supported her language and literacy learning. Reading Joan's stories is a fun and interesting way to learn about the Big 5.


Teacher reading to toddlersSelecting and Using Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Books

Use these resources for strategies on how to use bilingual books or books in languages that are unfamiliar to you. Steps to evaluate books for stereotypes and bias are also provided. Find bibliographies of culturally and linguistically appropriate books for preschool children, as well as links to websites for books in world languages.

Additional Resources

Review Exploring Joan Talks: A Resource Guide for Training and Technical Assistance Providers when using Joan Talks about the Big 5 to help Head Start and child care programs implement a Planned Language Approach.

Watch the Focus on Book Knowledge and Print Concepts webinar to learn more about this topic.

Last Updated: June 25, 2019