Friday, April 22, 2011

Using names for pre-reading activities

As I read somewhere before (sorry, I can’t find the source of the quotation!), “much of a child's initial understanding of words, letters, and sounds is tied to the word that means the most to them...........their own name!”. Many phonetic and phonological skills can actually be introduced using names and this is why we put such an emphasis on names at an early start. I thought it would be a good idea to show you how we do it in our preschool.

All parents are aware that we put a strong emphasis on name recognition from the minute they step into the preschool, as the first thing they see is the children’s hangers labelled with their name.

For smaller kids, it is a picture with their name below it. Children love having their own pictures as it recognises their individuality and made them feel like they belong at the same time. 

Parents would also know that we ask the children to pick their name among others and put it on the green board as they come in the classroom. Again, the younger kids would first recognise the picture before the name itself. After a few months, however, they usually have become so familiar with their name tag that they do not need the picture anymore.

Each  September, I take a close-up photo of each child's face. I glue the appropriate name on each photo and place it beside the picture representing the month they were born in as shown below (I am sorry for the poor quality of the photo. I couldn't do a close up... I have to protect the privacy of each child in our preschool):

We also have a game they are really fond of: the “Name game”. We all sit in a circle at circle time or before going outside. I pick a card with a name of it and hold it up. When a child sees his/her name, he/she stands up. Once we have done everybody’s name, we stand up and walk in circle slowly, singing “will you meet a friend of mine, will you meet a friend of mine, will you meet a friend of mine? This is my friend _____” (sung to the tune of “Mary had a little lamb”). At that point I throw a name card into the middle of the circle.  The child whose name it is grabs the card and returns to his/her place in the circle.  We keep going until all the children have had a go.  They LOVE this game!! It involves them and boost their sense of belonging.

I have a few more activities to talk about but I have to take more pictures first. Keep in touch.

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