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Teaching a Kindergartener to Read Names

By Laurie Patsalides

This is a phonics and reading lesson for Kindergarten students to learn their names. This lesson includes an introduction to names, crafts, phonics, learning words, concepts of print, chunking words and even graphing.

Star of the Day Lesson Plan

Choosing a student to be the star of the day in class promotes self-confidence while the students learn important skills.

1. To start, create (or purchase) a poster that is an "all about me" page. Posters can be commercially purchased through the Oriental Trading Co. or teacher supply stores or prepared and laminated. Also you may want to duplicate the poster on copy paper for the student. Display the poster in a visible place for all to see (i.e. the rug area). The poster should contain the following sentences (or similar if store bought):

My name is ________.

I am _______ years old.

I like to eat _____________.

I like to ____________.

2. Choose your Star. Sing the Special Star song (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star):

Special, special, special star

How we wonder who you are

_______ are you here today?

Stand up tall and then we'll say

Welcome, welcome, special star

Were so glad you're who you are.

Next present the Special Star with a star sticker to wear for the day.

3. Interview the child and fill in the poster with dry erase marker. This activity will become repetitious enough that later you can highlight the sight words on the poster board (my, is, I, like, to, name).

4. Have the student spell his or her name for the class as you write it on sentence strip paper. Explain to the class that this student's name is a word. Names are special words and always begin with a capital letter.

5. Make note of the first letter of the student's name to the class and teach the beginning sound to the class. I follow up each letter with other phonemic awareness activities. In the beginning I focus only on beginning sounds but add ending sounds, word chunks (for example, Keanan has the word "an" at the end of his name his name), and short and long vowels.

6. Count the letters in the student's name. Later when all of the students have had a chance to be the Star of the Day, I graph the number of letters in their names and compare results.

7. Clap the syllables in the student's name.

8. Next cut-up the name into letters and give to the Special Star to distribute to class members of his or her choice. When completed the Star of the Day calls out the letters of his or her name and helps the students to rebuild the word (name).

9. Last, chant the letters of the name. Saying, "give me a P, give me an A, give me a T, what does it spell? What's the word? Who's our Star?"

10. Name Craft- send students to their seats and pass out pencils, paper and crayons. The teacher stands at the blackboard and models the correct letter formation in the Star's name and assists students as necessary. Then students draw a picture of the Star of the Day to create a class book for him or her. After the Star of the Day writes his/her own name with the class he or she then glues the letters that were cut apart for the chant back into the correct order on his/her paper. Optional, include a copy of what the student told you for the "all about me" poster in the student's take home book. Always be sure to put the Special Star's name on the word wall. I usually did this with the word work activity later in the day. Students had to show where on the word wall the name belonged.

Please note that this activity can be modified to a First or Second Grade class. Depending on the level of the students you could use last names to study word chunks, long vowels, or digraphs or as a review of the beginning sounds of the students' names. In Kindergarten it could take as long as December to get through a class, but I would recommend planning to complete the whole class no later than December.