Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

The Impact of Name Writing on Early Literacy



From a very young age children enjoy writing. Their proper name is among the first words they can write conventionally. This is not surprising when we consider that most children are often exposed to their written name on personal possessions: their bedroom door, their drinking glass and locker in nursery school, and their artwork displayed at home or school.

They are encouraged to copy their name, to try to write it on their own, to name the letters in it, and so on. Taking into account that name writing at the preschool stage is one of the best predictors of conventional literacy in school age, we suppose that the name plays a special role in understanding the referential function of writing. In a series of studies with 3-6 year-olds we test how familiarity with the name adds to basic reading skills.

Key publications

  • Bus, A. G., & Out, D. (2008). Unraveling genetic and environmental components of early literacy: a twin study. Reading and Writing, 21(1), 1-14.
  • Both-de Vries, A. C., & A. G. Bus (in press). Name Writing: A First Step to Phonetic Writing? Does the name have a special role in understanding the symbolic function of writing? Literacy Teaching and Learning.
  • Levin, I., Both-de Vries, A. C., Aram, D., & Bus, A. G. (2005). Writing starts with own name writing: From scribbling to conventional spelling of Israeli and Dutch children. Applied Social Linguistics, 26, 463-477.
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