A mom recently asked us: “How can I teach my almost 3-year-old how to read her name?” We both have children who are this age and we thought that other moms would be interested in the answer!
Ready to teach anywhere at any time? Read on to discover ways to inspire children to learn to read their names and become curious about written language.
Why teach children how to read their names?
In MyLibook’s recent publication, we focused on personalization and found out that overall, personalized learning increases student motivation and engagement.
It’s never too early to start drawing your child’s attention to letters though, and implementing activities that use their name is a great and easy way to get and keep them interested in reading.
Getting creative around children’s names is also stimulating for parents. Do you remember how lovingly and carefully you selected this name? You can be proud of your choices while supporting your child learning and growing.
Everyday routines offer countless opportunities to learn how to read.
Here are a few ideas Estelle uses with her 3-year-old daughter to teach her how to read her beautiful name, Zoe:
- Zoe loves playing with magnetic letters. I place a few letters and ask her to find the “Z”, the “O” and the “E”. We also use whiteboards. I write the letters Z, O, E multiple times and ask her to connect the letters in the right order to make ZOE. Every day, we find new ideas to play with her name and we share them on Instagram.
- Reading books is another great way to help children identify the letters of their names.
- I created personalized children’s books and printed a set for Zoe, where she can read her name, and see an avatar wearing her favorite color while meeting fun animals and having great adventures. She loves being at the center of her books …and the cat.
- We love to play the game Monster Letter. I place my hands around my eyes and say: “With my Monster Eyes, I see a Z, do you see it”?
- I also find many reading opportunities while baking or cooking. We practice reading and writing by simply tracing her name in the flour when I bake a cake or a loaf of bread. When I prepare her plate for dinner, I use veggies to compose her name.
- Singing. Creating songs around the child’s name helps auditory memory. I thought about objects, characters, and names she liked. The song is:
“Zoe is a beautiful first name, it has three letters: Z, O and E
Z /z/ /z/ like zebra, zigzag, and zoo (emphasis on the sound of the letter)
O /o/ /o/ like Olaf, octopus, and orange
E /e/ /e/ like Elsa, egg, and elephant
How do we spell Zoe?
Z/O/E, Z/O/E, Zoe!”
I have sung it many, many times (repetition is key). Now, when I ask, “How do we spell Zoe?”, the answer comes automatically. I sing horribly but she asked me to create a song for her sister, Dad, Mom, Grandpa… This is what matters 🙂
Tzveti’s son, 3-years-old Hadrien, also loves exploring letters. Below are a few of his and Tzveti’s favorite activities:
- Hadrien loves his wooden alphabet puzzle. We bought this when he was 18 months old and he immediately showed interest, so it is never too early to help children become familiar with the letters. After putting the letters in the right order and making the sound of each letter I started using the letters of his name and encouraged him to read it.
- Another, rather unusual reading support for Hadrien is T-shirts. He is very attracted to T-shirts with a word written in big, bright letters. He started identifying the letters before he was two.
- The last example I want to share is the alphabet pasta. Each time I serve it Hadrien is so excited to eat the letters. He looks for a specific letter, most of the time an H, and joyfully announces what letters he is eating with every spoonful.
Out and About
Outdoor activities are also wonderful opportunities to learn while having fun: Create an alphabet grid with chalk and have your child shoot the letter of his or her name with a water pistol or spray bottle!
Outdoor spaces are a huge playground for kids. Going for a walk or a hike, is a good opportunity to teach your children how to read or write their name.
Something as simple as a trip to the grocery store offers many reading opportunities (reading tags, naming veggies that start with a certain letter, and even waiting in line and reading letters from magazine covers or signs for example).
There are so many reading opportunities we, as adults, may not even think about.
What ways do you use to teach your child how to read their name? We would love to hear from you!
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