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Lesson Plan

Name Talk: Exploring Letter-Sound Knowledge in the Primary Classroom

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Name Talk: Exploring Letter-Sound Knowledge in the Primary Classroom

Grades K – 1
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 15-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Egawa

Kathy Egawa

Seattle, Washington


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



This lesson invites pre-school through first grade students to share what they know about letters and sounds with a small group of their peers, and also gives teachers an opportunity to assess that knowledge in a more meaningful context than traditional “screening” sessions achieve. Working with name cards written by themselves or an adult, students share observations about their names and the names of their classmates, such as similarities and differences in spelling. Extensions of the lesson are appropriate for more experienced and knowledgeable primary-aged students.

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Stapleless Book: Students select page templates and then design pages that can be printed out, cut and folded into an eight-page book.

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The Primary Voices article "Letting Go of 'Letter of the Week'" shows the power of using children's names in early literacy lessons. In the article, Bell and Jarvis explain that young children develop literacy knowledge from an early age, even though it is not yet conventional. They emphasize that much of young children's letter-sound knowledge begins with personal connections to their own names, family members' names, and environmental print. Further, they state that new learning develops by connecting familiar information to new information. This lesson provides a vehicle for making such a connection as students compare and contrast their own printed names to those of their classmates, making a link from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

Further Reading

Bell, Donna, and Donna Jarvis. "Letting Go of 'Letter of the Week.'" Primary Voices 11.2 (October 2002): 10-24.

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