Kindergarten Name Writing: The Missing Steps

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Practice Before Instruction

Name writing is one of the first things taught in kindergarten every year. A quick Pinterest search reveals a slew of ideas on how children can practice their names through copying, tracing, or building, yet very little in the way of direct instruction.

Like many teachers, I jumped headfirst into name writing practice because it seemed like the only option.  Then, I noticed that children were forming bad habits that were difficult to break.

The Missing Steps

What I eventually realized is that I had missed a few steps.  The children first needed instruction on letter shapes, sizes, letter line placement, and spacing before moving on to name writing practice.  So, for the last couple of Septembers, I've begun the year with mini lessons built around these teaching points:

  • Letters are made up of lines and curves.
  • There are two kinds of letters - uppercase and lowercase.
  • Letter lines help us write the letters and each line has its own name.
  • Letters can be tall, small, and fall.
  • There are small, "spaghetti" spaces between the letters in our names.

Name Writing Conferences

Following direct instruction, I hold name writing conferences where I meet with each child, watch them write their name, and provide instruction and feedback on letter formation.  These conferences are supported by what the children learned in the mini lessons, but are unique to each child.  The amount of time needed for each conference varies, as some children need help with all of the letters, while others need very little guidance at all.

Practice Time

Then it's time for practice! We begin with letter tracing and then children gain daily practice copying their name onto their papers and using their name cards as a resource.  I continue to provide individual feedback and instruction as needed.  The children are very proud when they are able to write their name all by themselves without peeking at their name cards!

You can find my complete plan for name writing HERE!

How do you support children in learning this individualized, beginning-of-year skill?

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. This is so true! There are always students that struggle more than others. For those students that need a little extra help, I use a yellow marker to write their name and they can trace over the letters so that they can get a feel for the spacing and letter formation. Thank you for this great post :)

  2. Really great idea Amanda - thanks for sharing!