How To Teach A Child To Spell His Name

Teaching a child to spell his/her name is a good gift that parents must give to their children.


A child’s name is the most important word to him in the whole universe; therefore learning to spell that name is very crucial in their learning process.

When it comes to teaching children their names however, there are 3 major things to consider:

  1. Recognition
  2. Spelling and
  3. Writing

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The first stage of learning names occurs when children start to recognize them!

Young children begin to recognize the shape of their initial letter and often identify that first letter as “MY NAME!” They might find that initial letter in other places, point to it and say, “Look! There’s my name!” even if it is just the one letter.

In preschool, we can do lots of things to foster children’s recognition of their names. We label everything (lockers, change of clothes cubbies, snack chairs, carpet squares, folders, attendance chart, helper chart, and the alphabet wall) with their names and pictures, so that they begin to claim ownership of that very important word!

We use circle time as an opportunity to practice recognizing not only the child’s own name, but the names of all the classmates as well. This is one of our favorite circle time songs for September.

We write the students’ names on apple cutouts and spread them all over the carpet. Then we repeat the verse for each child. They love to find each other’s apples!

With repeated exposure and practice recognizing each other’s names, the children begin to identify letters.



The next step, after children are able to recognize their names is to begin to spell them orally. We practice this in many ways.

A child might be able to recite, “E-T-H-A-N” without seeing it written down.

Then they will begin to notice each letter. We provide a name activity like this one each morning for our students to practice.

We practice with both capital letters and we also practice matching capitals to lower case as well.



When the children are comfortable with recognizing and spelling their names, the next step is to work on writing them. Often these steps overlap and work in conjunction with each other!

We give our children lots of opportunities to write their names with sidewalk chalk, paint, markers, in salt trays, etc. They are also work on strengthening their hand muscles and refining their fine motor skills.

Our older Pre-K students (less than 1 year to kindergarten) also sign in their names each morning. It’s such a rewarding way to keep track of their progress.

When children begin to write, they often use what they already know about names (from learning to recognize their own name and their friends’ names and from learning to spell them).

For an example, the first time Leah write her name she verbalized her thinking.

“L Is For Leah.

L-E… E Is For (My Brother) Evan.

L-E-A… A Is For (My Best Friend) Anna.

L-E-A-H… H Is For (My Baby-Sitter) Holly.

Look!! I Wrote My Whole Name.”

Learning about names is an essential part of learning about letters and literacy in preschool. Practice recognizing, spelling and writing those names in a variety of fun and playful ways!


Read Also: How To Teach A Child To Read


Other Fun Activities

Stamping – We are lucky to have alphabet stamps, but you can easily make your own by adhering foam letter stickers onto cork tops or bottle caps.  Right now, I set out only the letters needed for her name {along with a piece of paper and stamp pad}, but to make the activity a little more challenging, you can include extra stamps too.


Magnetic Letters – I particularly like these wooden ones by Melissa & Doug, especially because the set includes both upper and lowercase letters, but any sort of alphabet magnets will do (you can even make some using scrabble tiles or foam letters).  I simply set out the required letters in a bowl next to a magnetic board, and let Miss G play.


Computer Typing – This activity is extra special in our house since we really don’t let our child use our computers yet.  I simply open up a blank word document, select a good clear font, make it nice and big, and let Miss G choose the colour.  Then she goes ahead and searches out each letter on the keyboard.  Today as she was about to hit the ‘G’, she asked, “But please, is this going to be a capital G? Because my name needs a capital G.’ After getting over my surprise, I taught her how to use the shift key and that was that.


Felt Board Name Game – Since my days in elementary school, I’ve always loved felt boards and felt board games.  Though you can purchase pre-made felt boards and felt alphabet pieces online, you can very easily and inexpensively make your own.


Duplo / Lego Stacking – Depending on the size of your collection, you may want to write the letters of your child’s name straight onto your Lego or Duplo to create a permanent and lasting game.  Or, if you’re like us, you can print the letters on sticker dots or labels and then attach them to the pieces.  This activity is always a huge hit and I especially like it because it can be done both horizontally and vertically.


Salt Printing – This one is one of my absolute favourite ways to have kids practice their printing.  In the classroom, I always keep a stack of colourful plastic plates filled with a layer of salt for practicing printing.  The students use their finger as a pencil, then simply give the plate a little shake to erase the letter and practice again.  In this case, I used a rectangular serving tray and provided my girl with an example of her name on card stock in front of her.


Chalkboard Water Painting – If asked, I have a feeling that my child may say this is her favourite name game to date.  To set it up, simply print the name on a chalkboard and give your wee one a paintbrush and some water to paint on top of the lines.  As he or she paints the letters, they will ‘disappear’, which is always fun!


Highlighter Tracing – This is probably the simplest of the bunch.  I print the girls name and she traces over it using a darker marker or pencil.  We pretend the highlighter lines are the road (or racetrack) and the marker is the car, and of course you want to keep your car on the road!


Read Also: 20 Commandments For Candidate Preparing For Exams


Letter boxes – While I prefer to teach beginners how to print their names on plain, unlined paper, some munchkins, Miss G included, enjoy having a little more structure than that. Creating two sets of boxes, your sample letters on top and blank ones directly below, gives many the ability to focus on one letter at a time with the goal of filling up all of the boxes by the end.


So that’s that!  My little girl has been enjoying these name activities so much that we’ve done almost all of them multiple times.




While it is helpful, it’s not absolutely necessary that your child knows how to form all the letters of the alphabet, or that he knows the distinction between upper and lowercase letters before he writes his name.

If your child is close to entering kindergarten, please know that most kindergarten teachers prefer that children enter school knowing how to write their names.

So do all you can to help your child to learn how to write his/her name and you’ll be glad you did.

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