Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Helping kids learn how to spell their names

When I started homeschooling my oldest when he was just under three, I decided that I wanted him to learn to spell his name.  I had already been singing his name to the tune of Bingo since about birth.  But I wanted him to recognize what it looked like as well.

So we started to label everything

Sock & undies bin?  Check.

Outdoor bin that holds sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, swim goggles, winter hat and mittens?  Perfect.  Then the kids wouldn't fight over their belongings. 

We sing songs spelling their names.  This is pretty easy with five letter names.  We get pretty creative with how many syllables the song BINGO can have.  One of our kids has nine letters, 2 have seven letters, 2 have six letters, and one has five.  Then we started singing their middle names too.  But we don't put labels with middle names around the house.

There was a Mama loved a boy and Tater was his name-oh!
and Tater was his name-oh!

This can work with numerous letters, not just five, with the right timing.

Or you can find a song that works better.

The Winnie the Pooh song works well for seven letter names.  Natalie. 
Fur Elise works for nine letter names.  Elizabeth.  Gabrielle.  Nathaniel.

London Bridge:

N-A-T-A-L-I-E Natalie, Natalie.
N-A-T-A-L-I-E Nat-UH-lee-ee.

M-E-L-I-S-S-A Melissa, Melissa.
M-E-L-I-S-S-A Muh-LIS-uh-uh.

Frere Jacques for eight letters or four.
That's your name.  That's your name.
Annalisa, Annalisa,
Sing your name.  Sing your name.

R-U-B-Y!   R-U-B-Y!
That's your name.  That's your name.
Ruby-dooby-dooby Ruby-dooby-dooby
Sing your name.  Sing your name.
Photo from

Wood letters painted on their wall.  Or the foam ones so you don't have to paint.  Either way, they work for me!

This post is linked at Tuesday's Tip Jar, Tuesday's TipsWFMW, and Thursday's Tips.


Lisa said...

oooh! Annalisa! wherever did you think of such a gorgeous name? :)

Thanks for the tips. I will be singing that to her tomorrow for sure!

The Saved Quarter said...

I love the name songs! Ideas for one syllable names?

For a 7 letter name, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star would work.

Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

I use the Mickey Mouse song! It works great! Remember M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E?

Momza said...


I need to have one more kid
just so I can sing that song.

Nikki said...

The Saved Quarter- Yes, Twinkle, Twinkle little Star works great for 7-letter names! I forgot to mention we do that too.

About one syllable names, it kind of depends on the name. One name I really like is Ruth. So, I might sing to the tune of Frere Jacques,

R-U-T-H, R-U-T-H,
That spells Ruth. Baby Ruth.
That's the truth. Baby Ruth.

Or like the name Grant is one syllable but five letters. I'd easily pick BINGO for his name.

There was a Mama loved a boy and Gra-ant was his name-oh!

and Gra-ant was his name-oh!

I guess it's the really short one syllable names that are hardest, like Rob.

I don't remember if this is a primary song from church or just a well-known children's song. But I would sing it to the tune of this.

Sing, sing, sing! I like to sing. I like to sing a song. Sing, sing, sing.
R-O-B. R-O-B.
That's the way to spell out Rob.

Feywriter said...

How do you convince them they have a middle name? Every time I try introducing the concept to my son, he "corrects" me with just his first and last name. Maybe I should have started before he was five... said...

too funny! We've done this with my son since he was a bitty baby. he's almost 10 now!

there was a mom who had a boy and Elias was his name-o ELIAS, ELIAS, ELIAS and Elias was his name-o.

it was always a hit. I've done it was all my kids. of course now our youngest is named Vencenzo and that just doesn't flow so well lol...

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I love this idea! I am a preschool teacher and I think the kiddos would just adore having their very own songs to sing at circle time.

What do I do for a 6 letter name? Any ideas?

Nikki said...

Your Frugal Friend, Niki- I usually do the BINGO song modifying the syllables OR like Lori said, we sometimes use the Mickey Mouse song M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! Example with the first line of the Mickey Mouse song:

H-U-N-T-E-R That spells Hunter's name.

or three syllable name with six letters like Damian:

D-A-M-I-A-N DAY-me-enz my name.


E-L-I-J-A-H I can spell my name!

I'm pretty comfortable making up kid songs with specific names and details, so I would continue the rest of the tune. However, my disclaimer if I'm asked to sing the song again the next day with the same lyrics and details, I have to say, "Sorry, one time deal." Except of course with the easier repetitive songs.

Clear as mud?

Melissa said...

Thanks for all the song suggestions!!! My little ones will love this.

Thanks for linking up to Thursday Tips!


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