Preschool Name Writing Tool: The Sign-In Book

We do so much with names in preschool!  In addition to children learning to write their names, they’re also a great teaching tool.  In “15+ Name Activities for Preschoolers”, I touch on a variety of ways for kiddos to explore their names.  One item I mentioned was a sign-in book.  This is a simple name writing activity that can be done every day, in just a few minutes.  A reader named Kim left me a sweet comment on that post, and that comment was the inspiration for this one!  I must admit, I just love getting feedback from my readers . . . thank you, Kim!!

Preschool Name Writing Tool: The Sign-In Book

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Signing into class every day may seem silly to an adult, but it’s actually quite meaningful for children.  First, because it’s all about THEM — their name, and they are doing the writing.  Secondly, it’s part of a book that the class works on together.

Preschool Name Writing Tool: The Sign In Book

I teach a pre-kindergarten class, and I start the year using a simple sign-in book.  It has a laminated front cover that says “Our Sign In Book”, and there’s a laminated back cover as well.  I place copies of my sign in sheets between the covers, and everything’s held together with loose-leaf rings.  For the sign in sheets, I use a very basic grid with 8 rectangles to house the students’ names.  I usually just type it up in a Word document, but sometimes I simply write their names within the rectangles.  The names are at the top of the rectangle, with room underneath for the kids to sign in.

Preschool Name Writing Tool: The Sign-In Book

If you are teaching your children or your students how to write their names, I would like to stress one point.  PLEASE teach them to write their names with the first letter capitalized and the rest lowercase.  This is how they’ll usually write and see their names.  Plus, they’ll need to write their names this way in elementary school, so why not do it this way from the start?

At the very beginning of the year, many children are still learning the correct formation of their names.  Because of this, I often use a yellow marker to help them out.  Underneath the type-written name, I write the name again in the yellow marker.  Then, when a child is signing in, he can trace over the letters I wrote in yellow.  Much of the time, I am sitting next to the child, walking him through the writing process.  This includes moving from left to right when writing, and I also focus on the correct letter formation.  Despite how much detail I’m going into here, it really is a quick process.  Some children need more help than others, and that’s perfectly fine!

Preschool Name Writing Tool: The Sign-In Book

The great part of using a name book is being able to see the progress each child makes during the school year!  Since it’s held together by loose-leaf rings, it’s easy to add more sign-in sheets as the year progresses.  I love looking back through the book at different parts of the year.  I look at how the children wrote their names the first week of school, and I usually compare that to how they’re writing in December, then February, then May.  In addition to helping me see the changes in their name writing, it’s also a helpful tool during parent conferences.  Such a simple way to show parents what a great job their kiddos are doing in preschool!

Click HERE for a free copy of my sign in book cover, as well as a blank grid to write your students’ names. Downloading and using my printables means you agree to my terms of use.

There are many, many different ways for young children to sign into their preschool class!  This is just one of many.  I usually switch it up around January, adding different ways to sign in at that point.  That way, the children have a multitude of ways to practice their name writing!  Since I’ve rambled on long enough here, some of those ideas will have to wait for another time!

Do you use a sign in book for your early childhood classroom?  Do you find it’s beneficial for the kiddos?  If you’ve never used one before, what do you think of the idea?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Comments

    • says

      Thanks, Sandi! :) I always felt SO bad for the kids in my K classes when they had to completely relearn how to write their names. I remember telling them they should be so excited to learn how to write their names so many different ways!

  1. Maria-Isabel Garcia says

    Thank You!. I’ve been using multiple versions of sign-in pages in my PreK classroom for years! But this one certainly fits the bill for this coming year! I may have one binder per table or even per student at the beginning to ease the flow. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes…

    • says

      Thank you, Lisa!! Let me know if you try any of the name ideas with your kiddos! I always love to hear how things went with other children, as well as tips for improvements from other teachers. :)

  2. Kim Deibert says

    Thanks for this great idea! It can lead (later in the year) to signing under a choice (when they don’t need to see a copy of their name any more) such as ‘ladybug’ or ‘butterfly’ which do you like better? I will also use artwork by famous artists for them to choose, or two books I’ve read. The program ‘Handwriting without Tears’ says that if they are just beginning to write their names, to use all caps first. If they already can print their names, then model the first letter in caps and the rest in lower case. Fine motor wise it is easier, they can transfer later when they are learning the lower case letters. FYI

    • says

      Thanks, Kim! :) Yes, that’s often what I move towards later in the year — signing in with graphs, polls, and even in different areas around the classroom. While I appreciate that many teachers find success using “Handwriting without Tears”, I strongly disagree with teaching all uppercase first. This is based on seeing so many children struggle to retrain their muscle memory when moving from all caps to writing their name in the usual fashion. I don’t think it’s actually easier fine motor wise, to be honest. There are ways to improve fine motor skills in so many ways anyway. I’d rather the kiddos take a little longer learning it correctly the first time. Again, I respect that others use and like the program, but I disagree with their take on this particular point.

  3. Andrea says

    I like the cove page. I give each child their own page with five lines for each day of the week and then I can send it home for parents to see their progress. Thanks for sharing!

    • tatertot says

      You can disagree with H.W.O.T.’s “take” but it is not developmentally appropriate to start with capital followed by lower case. When motor skill is stronger forming lower case letters will be a snap! :)

      • says

        I have solid reasons for disagreeing with HWOT’s way of teaching letter writing, but I’m still looking to find research to indicate the developmental appropriateness of it. I’m always up for different views and opinions, but I am super interested in reading the research behind the other points of view. :)
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  4. Diane says

    Hi. I just found your sign-in book and we will use it for the remainder of the year.

    I also am not a fan of uppercase first. In fact, I don’t teach my preschool kiddos uppercase at all. The Spalding Method, which integrates phonemes with the correct way to form each letter, leads to learning to read much faster. Although my school doesn’t use the Spalding Method, I use those principles in teaching preschoolers to recognize, write, and know letter sounds.

    Thanks for the ideas and discussions!

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by, DIane. Let me know how the sign-in book works with your kiddos! I appreciate the information about the Spalding Method as well. I’l be looking into that soon — I love reading research and looking into different methods.

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