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Name Recognition Activities for Kindergarten

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Name recognition is one of the first steps children can take toward literacy, so it is both important and exciting. This lesson offers some activities kindergarten teachers can use to help students learn to recognize their names in print.

Why Name Recognition Matters

Are you a kindergarten teacher trying to get your children ready for literacy? Of course you know how important it is to read to your students and support them in a print-rich environment. It is also your job to help students learn letters, sounds and patterns. One way you can do this is to begin by making sure every student in your class recognizes his or her own name. Students' names are among the most important words in their world, and when they recognize their names, they will know a set of sounds, letters and patterns already. This lesson offers some activities that will make name recognition fun and easy for your kindergarten students.

Name Recognition Activities

Letters on Cars

So many students love small toys like matchbox cars or other small toy vehicles. When working with an individual or small group, put labels on a series of cars to represent the letters in their names. For instance, if you have Harold, Naya and Sammy, put the letters H, A, R, O, L, D on six separate cars. Put Naya and Sammy's letters on cars as well. Then, order the cars so that the children's names are spelled. Ask Harold, Naya and Sammy to find the row of cars that represents their own name, then describe what they notice about their grouping of letters. They can also try copying the letters onto worksheets that contain outlines of the proper number of cars.

Find Your Hook

Your students' names are probably written in different places all over your classroom, such as on folders, cubbies, and coat hooks. For this activity, call your students over to the coat area in groups of four to five. Before calling them over, move their hook labels to spots that are different from usual. When students get there, explain that someone has mixed up the coat hook labels! Have them examine all the labels until they find their own names and return them to the proper spot.

Magnet Letters

This is a great activity to do with a small group of kindergartners. Give each student in your group a cookie sheet or other magnetic board. Then, give them the letters that spell out their names, but also a few extraneous letters. For instance, if Jackson is in your group, give him J-A-C-K-S-O-N, but also I, R, and Z. Ask the children to find the letters that do belong in their names, moving them into the order that they think spells their name properly. Explain that they will come upon three letters that do not belong, and they should remove these letters to a discard pile. Help your students work with their names as needed.

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