What’s in a name? A child’s name is their means of differentiating themselves from others in the classroom and beyond. At the beginning of the school year, there may be many little girls with the same new sparkly silver backpack and a few boys with the same new tennis shoes, but names are far more unique and most of the time there is only one child with each unique name in a classroom. What if there are two Christophers or Sarahs? They each have their own last name to set themselves apart from the rest.
Names are more than just letters put together to identify who you are. A name is a powerful, developmentally appropriate tool for individualizing early literacy learning. Using children’s names as a learning tool in an early childhood classroom creates real, meaningful learning for the child while meeting a variety of early literacy objectives such as phonological awareness, print awareness and alphabet learning.
The first couple of weeks in a preschool classroom are dedicated to ensuring that children can recognize their name and/or are on their way to successful name recognition. Whether a child has three letters or ten letters in his or her name, a teacher has the opportunity to teach letter sound relationships. Comparing names that start with the same letter and by counting the letters in each name and graphing the numbers on a chart are just two ways to use names in “real” life opportunities.
Children’s reading development depends upon their understanding of the alphabetic principle. What better way to teach letter-sound relationships than to use one of the most important aspects of every child, their name?
On Tuesday, September 23, join SLC at Rice University’s Anderson-Clarke Center for our “What’s In a Name?” program from 4-6 p.m. We will dive in deeply to discuss using names to teach the alphabetic principle, phonological awareness and more as well as give teachers practical, hands-on activities to facilitate name learning in their classrooms. Register now at http://literacy.rice.edu/slc/parent-and-teacher-workshops
Authored by Sharon Dworaczyk, Rice School Literacy and Culture