Do you know how to play The Name Game? The Name Game is a fun and easy whole group game that helps children recognize and read their name and the names of their classmates! It helps kids practice letter sounds, phonics, and beginning reading skills, too.
I have played this game with my class every single year since I started teaching Kindergarten in 1991, and I still play it now in TK! The children absolutely LOVE it because they get to hear their names called out, and everyone gets a turn.
This year, their enthusiasm was just AMAZING! In fact, it was so amazing that one of my students actually got up and took a bow when I finally called her name! LOL!
1. Write your students’ first names on sentence strips, cardstock, or any strip of stiff paper. It just needs to be thick enough for you to easily pull them in and out of a file folder pocket! This game can be played with last names, too, of course! But at the beginning of the year in Kindergarten and TK (Transitional Kindergarten), we just focus on first names! I always make a name for myself, too!
2. To make a pocket, get a file folder and cut it so that it is two inches taller than the height of your name cards. Staple it across the top.
3. Put your name cards inside the pocket and pull one or two of them out so that the letters are revealed from left to right. Then staple the OTHER side of the pocket closed. Write “The Name Game” on your pocket!
Pull out each name card slowly, revealing just one letter at a time. As you pull the names out, ask the children to tell you whose name they think it could be! Is that the first letter of their name, or not? Is there more than one child in the room whose name starts with the same letter? If so, then they’ll have to check the second letter, then the next letter, and then the next!
As children play, they should start to realize that they need to look at more than JUST THE FIRST LETTER of a word before deciding what it might be! They will also need to use their knowledge of the alphabet and sounds to help them read.
And now that I think of it, this would be a great game to play with sight words and CVC words to help children learn that they need to look at more than just the first letter! I’m going to have to try that! I’ve only ever done this with names.
Can you think of any other adaptations? Do you have any other simple games that your students really enjoy? Please share! :)
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