Treiman, Rebecca & Kessler, Brett & Rosales, Nicole. 2016. Characteristics of print in books for preschool children. Writing Systems Research 8(1). 120–132. (


Children begin to learn about the characteristics of print well before formal literacy instruction begins. Reading to children can expose them to print and help them learn about its characteristics. This may be especially true if the print is visually salient, for studies suggest that prereaders pay more attention to such print than to print that is visually less salient. To shed light on the characteristics of the print that US children see in books, especially those characteristics that may contribute to visual salience, we report a quantitative analysis of 73 books that were chosen to be representative of those seen by preschoolers. We found that print that is visually salient due to colour, variation and other features tends to be more common on the covers of books than in the interiors. It also tends to be more common in recently published books than in older books. Even in recent books, however, the print is much less visually salient than the accompanying pictures. Many studies have examined the behaviour of adults and children during shared reading, but little research has examined the characteristics of books themselves. Our results provide quantitative information about this topic for one set of characteristics in books for young US children.


APA citation:

Treiman, Rebecca, Kessler, B., & Rosales, N. (2016). Characteristics of print in books for preschool children. Writing Systems Research, 8, 120–132.