One of the first words many children learn to read and write is their name. Children hear their names mentioned all day long. Their names are personal, meaningful, and recognizable.

I was going back through my photo archives and was suddenly aware of how often we invite children to recognize, write, and explore their own names. The names of our students are integrated into just about every part of their day.

The children can find their names on the tables where they sit to do their work…

On each of their activities, the children begin by writing their own name somewhere on their  paper…

The children explore their names through art experiences…

They have a name writing journal to practice the mastering of their names…

Their names are kept in their little supply bags…

Their names are displayed on walls…

Their names are displayed on cubbies…

Their names are displayed on bulletin boards…

The spelling of a child’s name is chanted and cheered each morning during morning greeting time…

They practice writing their names through all sorts of activities and games

Opportunities for teaching children to recognize, read, and write their name are everywhere. These names are not just there as an afterthought rather this is part of intentional teaching. As you seek to offer opportunities for children to discover their names, be mindful of the following…

  • Invite children to write their own names on their work rather than always doing it for them. Chances are you will recognize their handwriting or that one letter they are good at but in time and with ample opportunities to practice – your students will master their names.
  • When displaying children’s names, use upper and lower case letters and start on the left side of a paper or sentence strip rather than in the middle so children can see the left to right progression of their name.
  • Don’t make name writing a major ordeal. Young children will more than likely recognize their name long before they are ready to write them.
  • Building a “name-rich” environment will assist your children in mastering their name over time.