Thursday, July 14, 2016

From Anne to Zach: Name Writing

Name writing is one of the first skills children learn in preschool and/or kindergarten. When teaching this skill, I prefer to use children’s literature as an anchor to my lessons.  While there are many great books to choose from, I have found the most success using From Anne to Zach, by Mary Jane Martin.  

The simple, predictable, text allows for a great shared reading lesson. Here is an example of how I use this popular name book to anchor my lesson on name writing and identifying the first letter in their name.  This lesson fits great in back to school, getting to know you, and all about me, theme units.

Book Walk:
Before reading the book to the class, I engage the kids in conversation about the pictures.  They immediately notice each page has a letter of the alphabet, along with a kid doing some type of activity.  Many times, the kids break out in singing the alphabet song J Then, I tell them the book will tell us the names of all the kids they just saw in the pictures. 

Read Aloud:
I read aloud the story, emphasizing the letter and name on each page.

I pass out name tags (with names already printed out), and do a mini-lesson on how to find the first letter in their name.  Most can tell me the first letter, but finding it is a different story J

Either using my own name card in a pocket chart, or writing my name oversized on chart paper, I model pointing to each letter in my name as I spell it out, and finding the first letter.

I then have a couple students come up and locate the first letter of others names.  Last, they will “turn and talk” with a friend, telling/showing each other the first letters in their name. While doing this, I have time to quickly assess and assist.

Shared Reading:
This time, I encourage the kids to listen for the first letter of their name to be read aloud. When they hear/see it, they stand, hold up their name card, and point to the first letter.  Because the text is predictable, many of the kids read along – reciting the sentences: __ my name is _______.  Super engaging J

I place the letter tiles in a pocket chart, or on a table. The resource packet comes with colored and black/white letter squares. The students come up to locate the first letter in their name, and take a writing sheet (choosing a boy or girl graphic).

Back at their seats, they glue the letter in the square letter box, trace the sentence starter, write their name, and color a picture of themselves.  The early finishers are encouraged to color in the page border to make it "the best it can be".

You can have a parent volunteer hang these on a bulletin board, or put in a binder to create a class book.  The kids will LOVE reading all the names throughout the year. You can find the printable resource for My Name Is, here. Download the free preview and read the reviews.  J

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