Reading Signs

Text isn’t limited to words on a page. There is text all around us! Pre-readers are particularly aware of environmental print, and often it provides their first experiences of independent reading.

On our holiday we saw lots of signs while driving around, including some that were new to us. Interpreting the road signs was a great early reading experience for the kids, especially for Mr4 who is still in the pre-reading phase.  Signs with added information provided a great reading opportunity for Miss6 as well.



Signs written in multiple languages were even more fun to read, and allowed for great conversation about the purpose of the sign, how important the message was, and who the audience might be. This is the beginning of critical literacy. (image link)


While we drove through the Daintree rainforest to Cape Tribulation, we were all on Cassowary watch. I so badly wanted to see a cassowary in the wild. Sadly, no matter how hard we looked – the only cassowaries we saw were the ones on the road signs. Mr4 pointed out every. single. one of them.

One cassowary sign is famous in these parts. The speed bump sign has had a little editing…

You can look for interesting signs with the kids anywhere, not just on holidays. Try asking some of these questions (depending on the age of your child):

  • Have you seen any other signs that colour?
  • What could that symbol mean?
  • What number is that?
  • Why is that number on a sign?
  • Are there any letters from your name on the sign?
  • Is that a sign that you have to obey, or just a suggestion? How do you know?

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