The proper name as starting point for basic reading
Anna C. Both-de Vries Æ Adriana G. Bus
Published online: 9 January 2009
Ó The Author(s) 2009. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com
Abstract Does alphabetic-phonetic writing start with the proper name and how
does the name affect reading and writing skills? Sixty 4- to 5-year-old children
from middle SES families with Dutch as their ﬁrst language wrote their proper name
and named letters. For each child we created unique sets of words with and without
the child’s ﬁrst letter of the name to test spelling skills and phonemic sensitivity.
Name writing correlated with children’s knowledge of the ﬁrst letter of the name
and phonemic sensitivity for the sound of the ﬁrst letter of the name. Hierarchical
regression analysis makes plausible that both knowledge of the ﬁrst letter’s name
and phonemic sensitivity for this letter explain why name writing results in phonetic
spelling with the name letter. Practical implications of the ﬁndings are discussed.
Keywords Alphabetic-phonetic spelling Á Letter knowledge Á Early writing
development Á Name writing Á Phonemic sensitivity Á Invented spelling
A child’s own name is a singularly important benchmark in early literacy
development (Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1982; Welsch, Sullivan, & Justice 2003).
Preschoolers’ writing of their own names is identiﬁable as writing prior to other
words and their proper name is among the ﬁrst words that young children can write
conventionally (Levin, Both-de Vries, Aram, & Bus 2005). Name writing in the
Our thanks to Anne van Duynkerken and Joyce van Thiel for their assistance in the data-collection.
A. C. Both-de Vries (&) Á A. G. Bus
Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands
A. G. Bus
Read Writ (2010) 23:173–187