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Read my shirt

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Print and text

Duration/age

Duration: 
Suitable for children: 
Skills this activity improves: 
A tag from a piece of clothing

Have you ever noticed how much writing there is on clothing? Some of it’s on the outside and some is on the inside. Point out the writing as you help your child get dressed.

Look at the writing on your T-shirt. Can you find the letter that your name starts with?

When you are shopping for your child’s clothes show them the label and talk about the size you are looking for.

You need a size 4 shirt. Can you find one with a 4?

Sometimes the size you need will be the same as your child’s age but sometimes it will be bigger or smaller. Talk about how sizes and ages might not be the same.

You need size 3 jeans but you are 4 years old.

When you are doing the washing talk with your child about the symbols and writing on the care label.

This one says we need to wash it in cold water. What do you think that picture of an iron means?

Materials you will need

  • Clothes

Why does this matter?

When you talk to your child about the writing on their clothes they will be learning that writing carries meaning. 

Labels provide information about size and what we need to do to look after the clothes. This kind of print is sometimes called environmental print. You are helping your child to begin to read when you point out print and symbols around them. Children often read environmental print before they read books because there is plenty of contextual information to help them work out what the writing says. 

What does this lead to?

The more opportunities children have to recognise and interpret print and symbols the better they will be equipped for reading.

Being able to interpret symbols helps children to read the instructions around them.

Language to use

  • Label, sign, symbol
  • Shirt, pants, jacket, T-shirt
  • Size, one, two, three, four
  • Small, medium, large
  • Too small, too big, just right
  • Wash, iron, cold, warm

Questions to use

  • What do you think that says?
  • What size will you need?
  • Your jacket doesn’t fit anymore. Did it shrink or have you grown?

Useful tips

  1. You might also like to take a look at the activities What does that say? and Sorting the washing.
  2. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

What other things can you find with sizes written on them?

Variation by age

Three to five year olds

Questions to ask

  • How tall are you now? How tall were you last time?
  • Will you get as big as me one day?
  • Find all the clothes that are size two. They will be too small for you.

Language to use

  • Taller, shorter
  • Bigger, smaller
  • Size, one, two, three, four