Helping kids learn to read their names

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

As big brothers and sisters return from school and talk about what they are learning, autumn is a perfect time for younger children to learn to spell their name and share what they are learning, too. There are some fun activities to help remember the letters of their name and the sequence of those letters.

You will need some heavy stock paper cut in 4-inch by 16-inch strips, white glue, marker, elbow macaroni or penne pasta, sandpaper, felt, child’s scissors, poster paint, colored glue and confetti.

Texture Helps Learning

Print your children’s names with marker on one of the tag board strips. Precut heavy stock paper can be purchased at most craft or school supply stores and is great to have on hand for projects. The letters need to be large enough and spaced far enough apart so children can glue pieces of macaroni to the strip to form the letters over your printing. Make sure the only capital letter is at the beginning of the name. It’s a good idea to start with only the first name.

Carefully, go over each letter, explaining to children that these letters in this order spell their name. Show them how to glue the macaroni onto each letter, saying the name of the letter as they are gluing. When the glue has dried, have them trace each letter with their finger and spell as they trace. They can paint the name with their favorite color when it is very dry.

The letters of their name can also be cut from sandpaper or felt and glued to another tag board strip in the correct order. Cut the letters yourself, but your children can glue them onto the tag board.

Using colored glue to outline the letters is fun, too. Glue can be tinted with food coloring. Children can add sand, glitter, or confetti outdoors to make a colorful art project from the name.

Touching clues can be very helpful when children are learning letters and words. Tracing over the noodles, sandpaper or felt with a finger can help your children remember how to spell and print their names.

Great ABC Books

Families may wish to check out some alphabet books at the library to practice remembering letters. Some favorites are “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr., “Thomas’ABC Book” by the Rev. W. Awdry and “Dr. Seuss’ ABC’s.” Another book that will add some motor activities is “Movement ABC’s for Little Ones” by Rae Pica. This book gives ideas on how to make letters with your body. Make letter cards together and play games like “Memory” and “Go Fish” to review letters.

Also check out the many puzzles and games that feature the ABC’s. For more ideas see and Learning through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.