Usually, some of the very first letters we all learn are the ones from our own names! It’s something we hear all day, every day from the very first moment we are born. It’s only natural for it to be a quick intro to the world of learning letters. In this post, I will be going over 5 steps for teaching Name Games for Letter Learning with pre-schoolers.
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So here are the basic steps of teaching a kiddo to recognize and write their name.
A quick side note before I break down these steps. Please try to teach that an uppercase letter begins the name, followed by lowercase for the following letters. All uppercase letters are not the correct way to write a name. Even though it may seem easier to start with just those letters you will have to reteach the correct way eventually, so why not just start that way.
1. Recognize the First Name as a Whole.
You show the kiddo their name! Anywhere and everywhere! Label their belongings- seat at the table, bedroom door, bed, toothbrush etc. Get them looking at those letters together and associating it with themselves. Find some fun children’s books where the main character shares the same name as your kiddo. Have them look for their name in the text as you read. Trace the letters with a finger.
Place some emphasis on the first letter because, well it’s first! (Remember this one is uppercase) Whenever you see that letter tell the kiddo. “Look Harry, an H! Just like in your name. H for Harry.” Also, any time we read an alphabet book I mention his name on the “H” page. Here are some of our favorite alphabet books and even a site where you can order a custom name book with your kiddos name.
2. Recognize the Individual Letters in a Name.
I already mentioned emphasizing the first letter when you are introducing the name as a whole but now you want to get them thinking about the other letters in their name. Use those name tags you have all around now and read off those letters. Write the letters yourself for the kiddo to see. Have them parrot back the letters as you read them, finger trace them, and search for them in other places where letters can be found.
Name Flash Card Game – Create flashcards for all the letters in their name and have them match the letters by placing them on top of a written out version on their name. I made this cool magnet version of this for my daughter to play with on the fridge when I’m working in the kitchen and she wants to be there with me.
3. Order the Letters Correctly.
Here you can use that same flash card game to practice, but this time take away the whole name as a guide. See if they can remember the order of the letters on their own. Keep the whole name guide for them to check their work and in case they still need practice with that step. Have them read the letters to you off the card and in the right order. If you want another helping visual you could create a background picture with the letters under it. Cut that out and you have a fun name puzzle the picture will help them remember the right order.
4. Practice Writing the Letters.
Grab your chalk, markers, crayons, and pencils! You write and they trace first. Start with one letter at a time- get crazy with color if they like that. Next, draw the name in dots and have them trace those. Again one letter at a time and work up to tracing the whole. Don’t forget to model each step for them (how to hold the pencil too- Here is a youtube video to help you with that step.) After they can trace great then you move to write the letters. Again, one letter at a time.
Side Note: If they aren’t feeling it, not having fun, or fighting you then stop! Learning is hard for little kiddos when it is not fun. Try to think of other ways to engage them with name practice. Make a dance for their name, with a different dance move for each letter. Paint the letters, smear them in shaving cream, trace them in the sand, line flash cards with a cheerio snack, etc. Check out my blog about Alphabet learning for more ideas.
5. Repeat all the Steps for the Last Name.
Don’t try to rush it and do both at the same time. That may be too much. Master one and then go for the other. Don’t forget to keep it fun!
I really hoped you liked my steps for Name Games for Letter Learning with Pre-School Kids. Check out some of my other posts about letter learning!