Prep: 1-5 Minutes / Activity Time: 10-15 Minutes

A child’s own name is a personal entry point to beginning reading and writing. There are countless opportunities for literacy learning using your child’s name and even the names of family members and special friends. Through early and repeated exposure to his printed name, your child will start to understand that written letters stand for the spoken word and that names are formed by a particular series of letters. In this activity, your child will play a memory game using his name and the names of family members and/or friends.

  • index cards (4” x 6”)
  • marker


Step 1: Print your child’s name on two index cards as shown in this example. Use a bolded uppercase letter for the first letter and lowercase letters for the rest.Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 4.48.41 PM

Step 2: Print the names of three other people who are special to your child (two cards per person). There will be a total of eight cards. Use the same format for these name cards as shown in the example.  Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 4.50.10 PM

Play the Game

Step 1: Randomly place all eight cards on a table or the floor in front of you and your child. Play the game by taking turns with your child. First, have your child turn over two cards, compare and say the letters and ask him if they match. If they match, say the name on the cards and let your child pick them up. If they do not match, talk about the differences in the names. Then place them name down in the same position on the table or floor.

Step 2: Now it’s your turn to pick up two cards. As you turn over a card, say the name on the card and talk about the beginning letter. You may give some additional information about the name. For example, you might talk about the name being really long (having lots of letters) or really short. Pick another card. If the two cards match, you can pick them up.

Step 3: Continue until all the cards are matched.    

Use just the first letter in the names and let your child find matching letters. You might also reduce the number of choices to make it easier.

See if your child can identify and read the names as he turns them over. Try adding names that begin with the same letter; have your child look more closely at the remaining letters to determine if they match.