One of the most memorable words and often the first word that a child learns to read is their own name, activities and ideas that support this learning in early preschool and reinforce it time and time again are good ways to familiarise children with it and get them thinking about “sight words”, as well as letter forms and function. This week our theme for the early childhood blogging ground is “All about Me & Names” and we’re building our names.
Last year at the beginning of T’s preschool year I set a target that she would learn her name and I’ve been sitting on this activity since then waiting for a great opportunity to post it. One of the reasons that I love this activity is that it combines physical skills, basic recognition of letters and then letter formation. As you can see we progressed to other family names over the year and I am planning to work on each phoneme and diagram building them and words with them as we progress this year.
Spigelban Set using the Rods, Circles/semi-circles and Dots
White paper for an easy clear background
Recognition, reading and writing of name
Formation of letters
2D Shapes – rectangle, circles and semi-circles
We are fortunate that we have a Spielgaben set at home and if you are planning on homeschooling or you intend to support your children’s education and can afford it – because yes it is an expensive resource for the home then it is worth investing in. We’ve had our set for over a year and regularly use it for learning and homework but don’t homeschool. However, you could create the elements used in this youself at home using cardboard – to do so you will need different sized strips of cardboard that you can cut out before plus 3 different sizes of circles and then semi circles for the curves. Cut these all out before.
Building my Name
We started this activity when T was just turned 3 and have been working on it since, before we started I made sure that T understood terms like Line, Circle and Semi-circle so that we could begin working on forming the basic letters.
Start off the first letter of their name – write the letter for them nice and large (a comparable size to the letter that they will form) and then get them to choose the parts from the building set that will form the letter – curves and lengths – longer and shorter as they see fit.
As they are forming the letters – and notice that T creates the “i” in her name with a circle instead of a dot because she sees it as a large dot and not a small dot like I provided due to our alphabet books and the alphabet line we have at home showing a big circle for the dot of the i.
Let your child form each letter and then support them – for example T consistently makes an a where she forms a circle and then adds a tail to it – to support her letter formation later on I adjust the letter that she has formed after she has finished the word with a “look this makes it easier and you can follow it without letting you finger leave the letter” by using a semi-circle and a rod tracing the shape made with her finger starting at the top of the semi circle and continuing as if writing an a.
Extending the activity
Once your child has built their name as I mentioned we will be using this activity regularly throughout the early learning years forming each of the phonemes, digraphs and trigraphs as well as the initial sight words, building the memory association with the letters further. Repeating a familar learning experience “Building letters to make our name” in this instance and adapting for learning new concepts “phonics and sight words” makes it easier to learn as the child doesn’t have to learn a new skill or method of learning but just the new knowledge.