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K - Act. 15: Lots of Labels

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - Kindergarten
Standard 1 Objective 2


Utah LessonPlans


This lesson plan gives you several ideas on how to use labeling in your classroom to help students connect print with a message.




  • pictures or photos of local buildings which children visit often
  • labels and logos
  • name card for each of the children that can be placed on a graph (e.g., die cuts with magnetic tape on the back)

Additional Resources

I Read Sign by Tana Hoban
I Read Symbols by Tana Hoban

Background for Teachers

Environmental print is one of the first places that children connect print with a message. It is a natural connection between learning to read and reading for a purpose in our community. You can have environmental print in your room by labeling items and procedures in your classroom such as tables, chairs, sink, etc, as well as class schedules, class rules, and other signs. You can also bring in print from the community through labels, pictures, and other means.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.

Process Skills
Symbolization, data collection and interpretation, classification

Instructional Procedures


Invitation to Learn
Write the following question on a graph (your whiteboard or chalkboard works well for this). "Have you been to _______?" In the blank write a local restaurant, store, or other place children have visited. Use the picture or logo instead of the words. Underneath make a table with "yes" and "no" columns. As children come into class, have them pick up their name card and place it under the appropriate heading.

Have a child come up and help you "read" the graph. Read each word, including environmental print, and point to it as it is said. Have the helper lead the class in counting the number of name cards on the "yes" side and writes that number at the bottom of the graph. Next, count the number of name cards on the "no" side. Help him or her to write that number on the bottom. Ask the children which one has more. You can line them up side by side to compare if need be. Then have the helper child circle the larger one and cross out the small one (or some symbol you want to use to indicate smaller and larger. I would not introduce the greater than/less than sign until after much practice with this graph, if at all. It is not required in the core to know the symbol, just the concept of greater and less than.)

Instructional Procedures

  1. Aa

    No Aa

    Ask the children, "How did you know what this word said?" Discuss that there are some words they already know how to read. They know what the word is telling them. They know the message of the symbols.
  2. Show some examples of environmental print and see if they can read them.
  3. Model concepts of print: Read it from left to right. Point out capitals and any punctuation. Identify what is a word and what is a picture.
  4. Ask if they can identify any letters they have studied and the sounds associated with that letter (e.g., M is for the "M" sound in Moose).
  5. Choose a letter to focus on. Let's use "A" as an example. Using a simple classification graphic organizer, label them "Aa" and "no Aa."
  6. Model for the class how to look for this letter in each word. If it contains an "Aa" place it on a stack on the "Aa" side. If it doesn't, place it on the "no Aa" side. After modeling with a few examples the process used to look for the letter, you can do some quick assessment to see if they are ready for independent work (e.g., "Thumbs up if it has an Aa. Thumbs down if it doesn't." Or "Turn to your neighbor and tell them whether it has an Aa or not"). You can also call individual children up to place the card in the appropriate spot.
  7. Place the cards and classifying graphic organizer at a center and let children sort them in small groups or independently. You may wish to have several graphic organizers with other letters available for further practice.


Possible Extensions/Adaptations

  1. Sort the cards into other categories, such as a color, shape, numbers, etc.
  2. Create an “I like _______” book in class with labels or pictures of things and places they like. Model this with some interactive writing. Guide the children as you call up a child to write a letter, then another student to write the next, etc. Write several examples together as a class before having them work independently.

Family Connections
Have the children bring in pictures or labels from home to read. You can have the children create predictable high frequency wordbooks to read at home. Provide pages with sentences such as “I go to McDonalds.” “I go to Smiths.” “I go to Wal-Mart.” “I go home.” and appropriate pictures. Children will make the book and then read it to each other and their parents. Share a variety of options for teachers to explore and use.

Assessment Plan

Observe children as they sort the cards. You can do a cut and paste sheet of six to eight environmental print words and a classifying graphic organizer, just like the center. Parent letters, both before and after the unit, could request feedback of student behaviors regarding reading environmental print.

Created: 08/06/2003
Updated: 02/04/2018