Name Writing Blues? Strategies to Help your Struggling Student

The Question:
it is February and I still have one student who isn’t spelling his name. It is eight letters long and he remembers some but not all and not in order. I’ve exhausted my ideas. Any suggestions?
The Answers:
Write his name in yellow marker on a sheet of paper. Place it in a plastic sleeve and have him trace it over and over again with dry erase markers.

Have you tried Play-Doh? Maybe he could form the letters of his name using the Play-Doh.
I had one like that. I just used a highlighter to write his name and then he traced it. I also had a sheet with large letters spelling his name taped to his desk so he could look at it when needed.
 PLEASE consider that there may be more going on with this child–one of the biggest symptoms of dyslexia in kindergartners is difficulty writing their names. Google Bright Solutions for Dyslexia and click on the link for signs of dyslexia in preschooland elementary children. Traditional teaching methods will not work–multisensory is great, but it just takes a LONG time for writing and spelling to stick. The Barton system has helped my son to learn spelling rules that are second-nature to most of us.
Making it into a song is a great idea! it has worked for some of my students.
The tune from the B-I-N-G-O song works for lots of names.
Make his name out of magnetic letters?
 I was going to suggest a name tag with his name on his desk. I also make writing papers with their names printed on it that they copy. I add the last name when they are ready for that.
 Go to Amazing Handwriting Maker and print out a copy with his name. Make copies to have him practice every morning for morning work. Give him a sticker for each day he completes and/or use an incentive chart. Practice makes perfect.
 Write it with black marker on a sentence strip, go over the letters a few times with Elmer’s glue so that it is raised. Then have him use his first two fingers to trace the letters and say them. Builds his motor memory and neuron paths for remembering. The two fingers are the key.
 Is it a problem of writing it? Could he spell it out in letter tiles? That will make a difference of which way to go. 

If it is just a spelling thing- I love the song idea.

I’m sure you’ve already done: making it with playdough, writing it in a sealed bag of shaving cream, rainbow writing, glitter writing, tracing sandpaper cut outs of it…
The Hello How Are You song is a great tune for the names.
 I have a new student who has been at another school. He still can’t write his name but likes using his name card to copy. He will eventually get it. He just needs
more time.
The Mickey Mouse tune helped a former Kinder with an 11 letter last name!
 A song is a great idea! Another idea is to write his name in chalk on a chalkboard and he would trace over it with a paintbrush dipped in water to “erase” what you had written. You could also give him snap cubes or letter beads with the letters of his name and have him snap or string them in order.
Make it into a song or cheer. You could also make a bracelet with letter beads that he could wear.
Use magnetic letters in a bag. Dump the letters and have him build his name. Make a template for him to match first if he can’t do it on his own.
I play Name Game! I type up names with a tracer font for each student and print off. I also have wooden dice that have a different colored spot on each face. Each morning as part of our job rotation, they get their name printed on the paper, the dice and a cup of markers. They roll the dice and whatever color it lands on, they trace their name with that color. The very last tracer font, they have to use a pencil. Message me your email and I can send you a copy of what I use. We start the year with our first names, and now after Christmas, we are writing our last names. It works!
Of course I’m wanting music!!!!!!!! It does work!
Use letter tiles to spell their name. Put name on a sentence strip. Leave in a bag for easy access. When there is time allow them to spell their name by laying tiles under each letter on sentence strip. Keep doing this several times. Then later tell them you are going to see how fast they can do it. Gradually later take away a letter and have them spell it filling in the missing letter. Then when ready spell without the sentence strip.
 A song/chant…for example…s, y, d….n, e, y…that spells Sydney oh my, my! Or d,a l…s, o, n….that spells Dalson win,win, win! This is how I taught my 2 personal kids to spell their names and I have used this in my room as well. I just spell their name out with a little rhythm and finish it up with a rhyme. Good luck!
Write his name on a sentence strip, then cut into pieces and have him put back together. Or write his name on a sentence strip and then take clothespins and write a letter of his name on each clothespin–have him match the pins to the sentence strip as he says the name of each letter as he puts the clothespins onto the sentence strip. Maybe use his favorite color marker to write his name!
I had a child last year that couldn’t write his so I started having him write just the first letter. When he mastered that, I added the second letter and so on and so on. It took almost the whole year, but he finally got it. I let his first grade teacher deal with his last name!
Make his name into a song.
I have a daily sign in journal, it was amazing how quickly all my students have picked up writing their first and last names. Started off with writing in highlighter just the first name. Once they had that down, I expected them to write their first name and trace their last. Now they write both with no assistance from me.
Don’t give up–some rocks need a little more polishing to shine  You might be all he has–stay strong!
I usually write the letters in his name on his back as he tries to remember . . . write them on his back as you tell him the letters, big on his back!
I agree with the song and sentence strip puzzle ideas. Have him write just as many of the letters as he can correctly. My student Christian took the whole year to learn his name. By Dec. he was still only writing Christ! but by June he had the whole thing.
Why not make a letter book with the eight letters of his name…..For example: Jonathan is my son’s name….J is for jaguar, O is for Ostrich and so on…..Let him either cut and paste pictures or draw his own…Once he creates his book, then, he could over the letters each day to reinforce learning and he can practicing writing each letter. God bless him! Not all of us have long names, but some do!!…;^)
Jo Beth
Take a sentence strip, about 20 pieces of paper cut into thirds and write his name with black sharp on the sentence strip. Staple the papers to the sentence strip and fold the part his name is written on and put it under one of the pieces of paper so it shows through. Have your student trace his name each morning and again in the afternoon. It’s great handwriting practice and he will get practice writing his name. He gets to tear off each sheet and take it home. He will be proud of his progress.
I broke down and just wrote my student’s name on her paper every day and made her trace it. Nothing else worked. After a month she shooed me away because she could do it herself. I was so proud:)
Give him a sentence strip with yarn attached as a necklace. Have him wear it ’til he’s got it! He can look at it, trace it, and use it to copy when he needs it. Tell him when he’s got it, he gets to take the name necklace home as a motivator!!


 We sing the letters to B-I-N-G-O. You can double up some of the letters. Then build it with magnetic letters (limited to letters in name). Take one letter out and ask which one is missing.


 Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. We have tried every tactile name activity I could get my hands on. Nothing has helped. If I tell him how to spell it, he can write it. We have been working with a song but so far he has just put the letters in the wrong order. I guess we will keep working on that though.
Your student will get there…more time is probably needed. Eventually, he/she will want to do more, and then the interest in learning will take over! Try shaving cream on a table and letting the student write what she knows…
Put it to music. I taught both my boys to spell their names by singing it to them as a lullaby. I am a firm believer in teaching through music and movement.
You might try making him a name book out of a cheap small photo album with his name printed on each page and inserted in the sleeves. Then give him a wipe off marker to use to copy it, over and over again. When he fills each page correctly, (in front of you, perhaps), give him something special, like stickers on each page or a sheet of stickers, something he could maybe pick out of your “stash.” It’s worth a try.
Backward chain it…effective ABA technique
Make it into a song.
GREAT ideas! Teachers have to be superheroes to get everything done!
Sing it! I had a little girl one year whose last name was long and difficult to pronounce let alone spell, We sang the spelling all year long, even after she could do it on her own!:)
Try using popcicle sticks. Large sticks with capital letters and small sticks with lowercase letters. I use a ribbon that has their name so they can compare, then have student write their name. They can do it over and over, saying the stick’s letter name as they put it down. They need to know the names of letters, as well as how to write them!
I also start the year with a name card graph for school lunch or lunch from home. I have 3 small pocket charts (purchased at Target in their dollar bin) The center chart has a card with each name, chart to the left says lunch from home, chart to the right says lunch from school. The children have to move their card each day. It allows me to do attendance and lunch count quickly and helps the students recognize what their name looks like. They can use these cards later to copy their name…In January, the card gets turned over and each child’s last name is on the back. I too use highlighter pen for the struggling student to trace his/her name and name plates at their table spots (I used to tape them down, now I just put them at the table , allows for more grouping flexibility.) Like many others, I make a song out of the name….The Mickey Mouse song works well for long names, as does 10 little indians….Good luck…sounds as though this friend may be on the two year plan for kindergarten!
I have one that just learned since Christmas- I used the daily sign journal too and I have everyone trace their names frequently.
 Name puzzles. Works for last names too!
Just call him Mo!
I have daughters named Elizabeth and Kathleen. They both go by their full name. It took a while for them to get all the letters. Does the child always mix up/leave out the same letters? If so, print the letters he does know and leave blanks for the ones he gets confused with. Maybe cutting down on the letters he has to print will help with the recall.
Eight letters = eight fingers. Stick the letters on each of his fingernails and have him tap the fingers left to right on the table while he says the letters out loud. Kinesthetic learning, unless you don’t believe in kinesthetic learning, in which case it’s the Bay City Rollers method: “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!”

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