Teaching Names and Pre-Reading Skills

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When school starts up every year many kindergarten teachers are prepping name activities for their new students.  One of the first pre-reading skills children should learn to be school ready is how to identify their name.  But, how can teachers introduce students to their names without them getting bored, overwhelmed or overworked?

One of my favorite activities at the start of every year was our Student of the Day. Not only did it teach names to the entire class, but focused on many pre-reading skills perfect for kindergarteners.

Why Student of the Day?

It may have started as Student of the Day, but quickly morphed into King or Queen of the Day to help the kids feel extra special.  This fun activity took about 3-5 minutes of our morning meeting time.  By the time our entire class had a turn, the majority of my students knew all of their letter names and other pre-reading skills.  Minimum time and maximum results are a major WIN!

How Student of the Day Works?

I start by printing each student’s name and letter cards when I am prepping all their labels in the classroom. I put both the name card and letter cards in a blank white envelope and store the envelopes close to our morning meeting area.

Then, I set the King or Queen of the Day cards on a pocket chart.  These stay out and ready to go every day until we start using the literacy charts.

On the second day of school until everyone has a turn, we work with every learners’ name.  I simply place the grab an envelope from the tub and pick a new one each day…the surprise makes it so fun!

What Do We Do Each Day?

Here’s what we do every morning for each learner…

  1. SAY their name
  2. CHEER their name (details below)
  3. COUNT the letters in their name
  4. CLAP the syllables in their name
  5. RHYME their name (details below)
  6. MAKE their name with the letter cards

Say their name

Before we actually say their name, we work together to guess who the new King or Queen of the Day is.  I begin by placing one letter at a time on the chart.  We say the letter name, its sound and try to put them in the right order for one of our classroom friends.

Once, we figure out who or new king or queen is, I put the correct title card on and we say the student’s name together.  Super simple.

Then, it is time for the king or queen to make their way to the front to help lead their special time.

Cheer Their Name

The cheer is one you have probably heard many times before.  You can either have the learners skywrite the letter or make the letter with their bodies…it’s up to you.

Teacher: “Give me a K”
Students: “K, you got your K, you got your K”
Teacher: “Give me an A”
Students: “A, you got your A, you got your A”
Teacher: “Give me a T”
Students: “T, you got your T, you got your T”
Teacher: “Give me an E”
Students: “E, you got your E, you got your E”
Teacher: “What does that spell?”
Students: “Kate!”

Easy, fun and the kids LOVE doing the cheer extra loud…sorry teacher neighbors!

Count the Letters

Math and literacy skills together…why yes!  This quick and powerful activity packs so much punch, especially after you go through a classroom worth of names.

It is as simple as it sounds.  You point and count the letters of the name.  Done. What an easy pre-reading skill!

Clap the Syllables

Yet, another easy and fast activity that makes a HUGE difference in your learners’ phonological awareness after twenty-something days.

Clap it, stomp it, snap it, whatever floats your boat.  Just work together to count the syllables in each students name.

Rhyme Their Name

The rhyming song is another popular one and the kiddos LOVE it!  It goes like this…

Kynlee, Kynlee, bo-ben-lee
Ba-na-na fan-na, fo-fen-lee
Mee mi mo-men-lee

Grayson, Grayson, bo-bay-son
Ba-na-na fan-na, fo-fay-son
Mee mi mo-may-son

Sound familiar?  If it doesn’t, no worries!  You will be singing or humming it for the next month!

Make Their Name

Last, it is time to scramble up those letter cards and let the king, queen or a volunteer have a go.  Depending on the level of you learner you can even turn the name card backward to make them work a little harder.

It’s Not Over Yet!

Finally, the King or Queen of the day gets to make and wear a crown during their special day.  It is such a fun activity that really helps little ones get excited about school and looking forward to their special day.

So adorable and so fun!

What are some of your favorite pre-reading skills activities for the beginning of the school year?

If you need some ideas for your bag of tricks, be sure to check out the links below.

Print name writing for whatever your child’s level with this free name writing printable.

Drawing a blank for name games for little learners, this blog post may give you some ideas.

Grab the Student of the Day name and pre-reading activity from this post to add to your morning meeting.

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progress monitoring in the early elementary classroom for math, literacy and reading