Llama Llama Activity for Encouraging Print Awareness

Here’s an engaging Llama Llama activity for you that’s just right for preschoolers and early kindergartners. It goes with a brand-new Llama Llama book inspired by the late Anna Dewdney.

Image source: Penguin Young Readers

I was super excited to be invited to join the blog tour for Llama Llama Loves to Read, and doubly thrilled to get the generously sized book in my hands. (I received the book for free. All opinions here are my own.)

Illustrator JT Morrow did a remarkable job imitating Dewdney’s artwork. The colors and details and even the new characters fit right in with the originals.

Dewdney’s life partner, Reed Duncan, wrote the story. His careful rhythm honors Dewdney’s trademark style, and his background as a reading teacher shines through too. This book will be a wonderful back to school book for preschool and kindergarten classes.

I worried that the book would feel like just a commercial extension of the Llama Llama brand. I’m so relieved to find that it doesn’t. Instead, it is a caring continuation of the characters Dewdney lovingly created.

About the Story

Sweet baby llama is growing up, and off to school. He even has a little backpack now. The story doesn’t have quite the emotional resonance of the originals, but I think its educational value more than makes up for that.

In the story, little Llama begins school and learns about the relationship between letters, words, sentences, and stories. He writes his name and the word Love for his mama.

The teacher, a zebra wearing a pink scarf, holds up a sign that say “Go” as the line of children walks to library storytime. On the way back, she holds up a sign that says “Stop,” and the narrator intones,

“Llama reads the word out loud. Llama Llama feeling PROUD!”

After school, his mama takes him out for a treat, and she points out the word “ice cream” on the store window while the narrator declares,

“Words have magic power indeed.”

stop signs print awareness activity

Llama Llama Loves to Read Activity

I love to see children “reading” as they develop print awareness. When they can proudly identify stop signs and familiar store names, and begin to recite favorite books, you know they’re on the road to reading!

After reading Llama Llama Love to Read you can point out how little Llama is noticing print around him, and talk with your kids about environmental print in their daily lives.

Stop signs are one of the first things many kids notice – although they may attend more to its shape and color than to the squiggly letters in the middle.

This simple print awareness game can encourage preschoolers and young kindergartners to notice the characteristics of the letters, though. The signs are progressively more reliant on just the print.

Llama Llama Activity – Preparation

1. Print out the signs.

2. Fold each paper in half, then attach craft sticks using double-sided tape or hot glue.

3. Show the kids the signs and discuss what makes some of them tricky.


Llama Llama Activity -How to Play:

You play this game much like “Red Light, Green Light,” except instead of yelling out instructions you hold up a Stop or Go sign.

1. Hold up a sign that reads “Go.” When the children see the sign, they should run (or walk – your choice) towards you.

2. Then, flip the sign around to the “Stop” side. When the children see it, they should freeze. If they keep going, they must take 2 steps backward.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until everyone has the hang of it. Then introduce the next hardest sign, and point out what each side means. Repeat play.


Pretend Play Version

You can also print miniature versions of the pages and set up a pretend play scene with toy cars or trains. I used play dough to hold each sign. You could also use modeling clay that doesn’t dry out.

(To print smaller cards, just click “multiple” in Adobe Reader’s print dialogue box, and select how many pages per sheet you want.)

RELATED: Story-Inspired Play Dough Activities


Llama Llama Loves to Read is the perfect hopping-off point for lots of early literacy activities.

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