Library Academy for Educators: January and February 2022

Our featured pre-literacy skills for January and February are print motivation and print awareness. These skills include an understanding that print has meaning, learning how books work, and showing an interest in books and enjoyment of reading activities. Use your imaginations and play pretend to build these foundational skills. 

#READ – Ta-Da! By Kathy Ellen Davis 

Ta-Da! Book Cover

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Two young storytellers start with "once upon a time" but quickly realize that a good story needs action, danger, and most of all, a happy ending. An irresistible celebration of imaginary play, storytelling, and the joys of collaboration, this gorgeous picture book features two strong voices throughout, making it the perfect read-aloud.

Increase print awareness and print motivation as you read: 

  • Before reading talk about the different parts of the book. Show the front/cover, spine, and back of the book. Introduce the title of the book.
  • Introduce the names of the author and illustrator. Talk about the roles of the author and the illustrator.
  • Try singing a song about the author and the illustrator to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell.

The author writes the words

The author writes the words

Hi-ho, did you know

The author writes the words


The illustrator draws the pictures

The illustrator draws the pictures

Hi-ho, did you know

The illustrator draws the pictures

  • Encourage your students to say the repeated phrases "DUN DUN DUH!" and "Ta-Da!" with you as you read the story. Run your finger under the repeated phrases as you read them to draw their attention to the print.
  • Build print motivation by having fun with this story. Play pretend with the characters as you read by acting out the story. Be fire-breathing dragons, pirates, magicians, and go on an underwater adventure.



Who knew learning to read and write could be so fun? Get moving with this song as you learn about the directionality of print. 

Top to Bottom, Left to Right 

(Tune: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes)


Top to bottom, 

Left to right, left to right. 

Top to bottom,

Left to right, left to right.

It’s how we read and how we write,

We go top to bottom,

Left to right, left to right. 

#EXPLORE – Storytelling to Promote Print Awareness

A Child's Marker Drawing on Paper

Targeted Standards

IV. Language and Literacy 
IV.F.3.a. Recognizes that print conveys meaning
IV.G.1.a. Intentionally uses scribbles/writing to convey meaning (e.g., signing artwork, captioning, labeling, creating lists, making notes)

Create your own book to build print awareness. Help your students learn about the different parts of books and increase understanding that printed words carry meaning.

#Little Authors: Make Your Own Book


  • 1 piece of poster board 
  • Writing utensils 


  1. Fold piece of poster board in half hamburger style to create a book.  Display the book for students to see. 

  2. Invite your students to dictate their own story for the book. Listen and write down responses word for word. 

  3. Ask where you should begin writing the story. Talk about how we write from top to bottom and left to right.  

  4. Model writing down each word slowly. Periodically tell them what word you are writing down, or even spell out words as you write them.  

  5. Provide prompting when needed by asking open-ended questions like, "Where does the story start?", "What do you think happens next?", "And then...?", "Does anything else happen in the story?”   

  6. After completing the story, read back what you wrote. Run your finger under each word as you read. Ask your students if they would like to make any changes.  

  7. Have students write their names on the cover of the book as the authors of the story.

#KEEP READING: Check out these books to continue playing pretend and using your imaginations!


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