What is concept of book?

What is concept of book?

Concept of book is a very important concept to pay attention to when you are trying to decide whether your student is ready to read.  Concept of book is a type of concept of print.  Several of the questions we ask on our free reading readiness test assesses a student’s concept of book and concept of print.  A student that does not understand concept of book will have a hard time reading…Let me explain:

You may have seen a baby pick up a book and begin to flip through the pages and ‘read’ the book.  Many times the baby may be holding the book upside down, or turning the pages the wrong way.  The baby does not understand concept of book.  One of the first signs that a child is beginning to understand concept of book and the written language is seen when the baby picks up, holds and turns the pages of the book correctly and that the baby does this consistently.

There are other concepts of book that you will want to watch for an ask your little reader to determine whether she understands.  For instance, does the student…

  • Know what the front cover of the book is?  (Ask her, “Show me the front cover of the book.’)
  • Know the back cover of the book?
  • Know the title of the book?  (Ask her, “Can you point to the title of the book?”)

If the child knows these concepts, the child understands concept of book (a subcategory of concept of print).   If a child doesn’t know how to hold and open the book correctly, the child does not understand concept of book, and will have a hard time learning to read.

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Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound ReadingMrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 8 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets and Parents Magazine online. Over the last 8 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.


  1. I never thought of asking such questions when reading to our little one. Thanks for the helpful info.

  2. I think this concept just comes to them if you read a lot to them, (and I would just say in a random moment, not really a teaching moment, “you’re holding the book upside down!”) But now with all the e-books, that has to be a little confusing.

    1. Yes, definitely! Great point… it is a very natural step that happens… You don’t really explicitly teach the concept, but -you do want to watch out for it and ask questions to see if they know the answers when you feel they are ready. Definitely a great point…and, with the e-books, you are right -I wonder if down the line this concept will have to make some adjustments!

  3. I never thought of it like that but I realize now you are so right. My oldest still holds the book upside down and baby girl corrects him 🙂

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