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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Australia
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    747

    Learning to spell their name

    I am not a mum and have never encountered how children learn to spell their name.

    Is it more difficult with longer names? Silent letters?
    One of my favourite names Vetoed by myself due to letters is Genevieve I just worry it's too long and the silent letter (i - sounds silent to me)
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    LA ♡ KC ♡ NY
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    I’m not an expert on this subject but I grew up with 2 younger sisters and I watched them learn how to spell their names, and I also learned a bit about how humans learn to spell and read in my cognitive psychology class last semester so I’m going to give it a shot.

    To put it simply, I think kids just do it. I learned how to spell my name before I learned how to read. I knew the letters of the alphabet but not really how they would fit together to form words. I knew that when I saw the letters “A B B Y”, it was my name and it was referring to me. I didn’t process that the “A” made an “aa” sound which combined with the “Bs” making a “buh” sound which combined with the “Y” making an “ee” sound to get to how my name was said. I knew that “ABBY” spelled my name and my name was pronounced “aa-bee”. If someone stuck a “G” in front of my name to make “Gabby”, I wouldn’t have known how to say it because I didn’t use any phonetic or morphemic skills when “reading” my name. It wasn’t “reading” as much as it was “recognizing”.

    For kids, their names become a “sight word”. These are some of the first words kids learn when they start to learn how to read. It’s important for kids to learn how to sound things out—that’s why those “My Baby Can Read” gimmicks aren’t super helpful. Those just teach kids to memorize what spoken words look like as opposed to learning what specific letters sound like and how those sounds come together to form words (phonology and morphology). But there are a few words where memorizing just makes sense. “I”, “a”, “the”, and “you” come to mind. You can’t get very far in reading without learning what those words mean. When you get into more specific words such as “house” or “car” or “dog” though, kids should be trying to sound those out rather than just memorizing what they look like.

    Since kids learn what their name looks like before they learn how to read, silent letters really aren’t an issue. They don’t know the rules of the English written language so they don’t know that the “I” in Genevieve isn’t pronounced. It’s sort of just there. They don’t know anything different. I don’t know if length would impact things in any way but I don’t think it’s very significant if it does. Like I said, the kids don’t know anything different at that point. There’s no reason why a Genevieve would have a significantly harder time learning how to spell her name compared to an Ava other than it just taking a bit longer for Genevieve to write her name. I was in a kindergarten class with a boy named Christopher whose only issue with writing his name was that he spent a long time doing it.

    I hope this helped! Again, I’m not an expert but I was excited to use some of the concepts I’m learning in my classes. I also hope this was at least somewhat accurate.
    Abby | 20 | Psychology Student | Writer


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Australia
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    That was super helpful. Thank you so much
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Connecticut
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    1,804
    @Abby,

    You explained it so well!

    I work in an elementary school with ESL students. A lot of the kids have names that do not fit the English spelling rules anyways. Other names are made up by their parents, and some have an apostrophe in them. All of these kids can write their first names by the time they leave kindergarten. (With the exception of a few who may have other issues preventing their ability to write or remember how to spell their name).

    Both my daughters happen to have 5 letter first names, but their last name is 8 letters long. My oldest will be in Kindergarten next year, and I hope to practice her last name with her over the summer and next year. Noemi could write her first name by the time she was 3.5 years old because they wrote it every day in Preschool. Of course, sometimes it was backwards, and the letters weren't pretty, but she knew the letters in her name.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    392
    I think a long-ish name could be an advantage in some ways... their name is usually the first thing they learn to write, and people spell out the letters to them... so maybe they get better at recognising and writing more letters earlier on than kids withsl shorter names?
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