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  • Mary-Ellen Rooney

What's In A Name?

Children are asked ALL day to write their name on the top of their work. That said, I used to tear my own hair out when a sheet of paper was unable to be claimed. When I started up this program, I promised myself that writing their own name, was going to be a skill that these little kids would master.


When teaching the children to write their name, it's important to change it up. By this I mean, use a variety of tools to write with, present them with different textures of paper, cardboard, whiteboards and chalkboards. A fun way to encourage children to write, is by using their finger. They can draw in shave foam, finger paint or sprinkles with a paintbrush.


While actually writing and correctly forming the letters is important, identifying the letters is also vital. The children need to understand that their name is made up of a series of letters and sounds in a particular order. A great activity around this is to use magnetic letters. Present them jumbled up and have the children put them back in order. They can then copy their name underneath.


Below is an example of how I used a chalkboard and chalk to learn their name. Chalk requires a great amount of hand strength and control. It is really tactile (it makes my blood run cold) but children are fascinated by it.) Notice in the video how I make the most of the learning moment to also teach upper and lower case letters as well as letter formation and size. When we notice that the child's concentration is maintained, it's great to 'strike' and use that moment for as much teaching as possible.



From here, the next time this child writes his name, I will REVISIT this teaching moment if similar errors are repeated. For example, I may say. "Great job......remember when we used the stick of chalk last time, and you wrote the capital L? How did we fix that?" This will then reinforce the teaching point and allow him to recall it.


It is so important to know that learning to write their name, isn't just about writing it over and over, it is also about recognising it. Each morning, I ask the children to choose their name from a group of names on the board. This will help them when they start school and need to identify their belongings, their place at their table, their bag hook, their school bag and lunch box...the list goes on!


Whatever you choose to do with your child in terms of identifying and writing their name independently doesn't really matter. Just keep it fun, mix it up and most of all, make a big deal of their successes.


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