Name writing is an important skill to learn in early childhood. Read about how to make and use your own preschool sign-in book so kids can practice name writing.
Names are the . . . well, name . . . of the game in preschool! To get the kids started, I’m a big believer in using hands-on, multi-sensory activities to teach kids about their names.
In addition to all that, preschool children need the chance for basic name writing practice, too.
Enter the preschool sign-in book, a surprisingly simple idea that has always been a hit with the kiddos. I can attest to the fact that kindergartners get a lot of benefits from it, too.
Why Use a Preschool Sign in Book for Name Writing?
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.
It’s a super fast way for the kids to work on learning their names. Finding their names in the sign-in book helps them learn to identify what their names look like in print. Taking the time for name writing every morning gives them a no-pressure way to practice writing their names.
The sign-in book also allows me to keep a record of each child’s progress when it comes to name writing and recognition. I sometimes jot notes to myself in the margins of the book once the kids are done. These notes might include comments about the children’s pencil grasp, if they wrote their name in order and left to right, or if they need more help with letter formation. At the end of the year, the sign in book shows each child’s name writing progress from the beginning of the year.
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!
How to Make a Sign-In Book for Your Classroom
This sign-in book is pretty simple, and I like it that way! It has a front cover that says “Our Sign In Book”, and there’s a laminated back cover as well. The front cover is printed out, mounted on colorful construction paper, and then run through the laminator. To make a back cover, I just laminate a second piece of construction paper. Take my word for it, if you want your sign-in book to last the year, make sure to laminate the front and back covers!
The actual name writing sign in sheets get placed 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.
Since it’s held together by loose-leaf rings, it’s easy to add more sign-in sheets as the year progresses.
You can grab your own free printable version of my sign-in book below. Bonus – it’s now editable!
Teach Name Writing Using a Sign-In Book
At the very beginning of the year, many children are still learning the correct formation of their names. Because of this, I sometimes 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 name 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!
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? Yes, I’m aware that this is a hotly contested topic in the early childhood field. To each her own, so let’s not fight about it if you disagree with me. We’re all working hard for our students!
Grab Your Free Editable Printable Sign-In Book
Click on the button below to grab your own copy of the sign-in book. It comes with a front cover, as well as multiple sign-in sheet pages. The cover and the name writing pages are editable so you can include your own class name, as well as the individual students’ names.
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!
More Ways to Explore Name Writing and Recognition
The sign-in book is just one of many strategies to help children learn to read and write their names. It’s also just one of many ways preschool children can sign into their classrooms. Here are more name activities to check out:
Originally published August 12, 2013.