Words Are Everywhere in the Bay Area

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
May 29, 2017

Savvy parents know it's never to early to begin introducing their children to basic literacy skills such as letter, sound, and word recognition. Not only will you be helping them enjoy richer, fuller learning experiences in kindergarten and beyond, you'll also be opening the door to the wonderful world of books and a lifetime love affair with reading. Even an act as simple and enjoyable as reading to your child every day will help your child learn and love to read!  

Even after the storybook closes, the reading doesn't have to stop; there are symbols and numbers and letters everywhere we turn. From stop signs to billboard ads to storefront signs, environmental print—the print of everyday life—offers an excellent starting point to teach little ones to read. Even the youngest children can "read" environmental print quickly because they make the connection between the print and their everyday experiences, turning every moment into a reading lesson. Here are some unique San Francisco Bay Area "reading lessons" not to be missed:

San Francisco Giants Logo at AT&T Park

The San Francisco Giants have been a Bay Area fixture since they moved to San Francisco in 1958, and after their 2010 World Series Championship win, they've more popular than ever. If your little slugger isn't familiar with the Giants' logo, he will be after a visit to the Giants' home stadium, AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco. It's an amazing stadium, crammed with mouth-watering food, eye-catching merchandise, fun activities for kids—and Giants signs. He'll soon learn to recognize the orange-and-black, intertwined "S" and "F" letters after seeing it on baseball caps, shirts, banners, signs, not to mention the gigantic clock on the scoreboard!  

The Frat Houses of the University of California at Berkeley

Take your family on a walk around along Piedmont Avenue and Channing Way, just outside the University of California campus, and you'll find plenty of opportunities for your little one to learn his A-B-Cs. From Delta Tau Delta to Pi Kappa Alpha to Sigma Alpha Epsilon, many of the university's frat houses are located here, with their letters proudly displayed for the whole world to see—and for your little one to read.

The houses have an architectural as well as alphabetical appeal; they reflect Berkeley's rich architectural heritage, with many homes designed by luminaries such as Julia Morgan (the Sigma Epsilon house, Delta Zeta house) and Green & Greene (the Sigma Phi house).

The Googleplex, Mountain View

There's a good chance your little one sees the Google logo each time you open up a web browser, so he'll have no trouble recognizing those red, yellow, blue, and green letters the next time you drive up to Mountain View's Shoreline Park. The Googleplex (Google's corporate headquarters) consists of four core buildings and a multitude of smaller ones, each emblazoned with the Google logo. After so much reading work, your little one deserves a treat, so make sure you drive down Charleston Road and slow down as you approach building 45; the front lawn is decorated with a giant green Android statue, as well as the cupcakes, honeycombs, donuts, and ice cream sandwich statues representing each of Google's major releases.

C.J. Olson Cherries Sign, Sunnyvale

Long before Apple came to town, Silicon Valley was covered in another kind of fruit: cherries. Over the years, cherry orchards have made way for buildings and parking lots, with the last remaining orchard, C.J. Olson Cherries, making way for apartments and a strip mall in 1999. The orchards may be gone, but C.J. Olson's still runs a fruit stand selling fresh and dried cherries, apricots, nuts, chocolates, jams, and other confections, right where the family established itself in 1899. The next time you're driving along El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, be sure to point out the distinctive vintage C.J.Olson's sign to your little one and let him know he's not just looking at the letters C, J and O; he's looking at a piece of Silicon Valley history.    

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