Using Names to Explore Graphing

By Norah L’Esperance

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  • Demonstrate literacy behaviours that enable beginning readers to make sense of a variety of texts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of numbers, using concrete materials to explore and investigate counting, quantity, and number relationship


  • Teacher works with groups of 8 to 10 children


  • One strip of paper with the outline of the letters in each child’s name.
    • All the names with five letters have the same length (i.e. longer name, longer strip of paper)
  • Cut-out letters in their name paper-clipped to the strip of paper.
  • Glue sticks
  • Number cards – the numbers one to 10 written on separate cards
Child plays the name graphing game


  • Demonstrate looking at the letters in your name
    • People have puzzles that are their name
    • “Now you get to make a puzzle of your name”
  • Hold up each child’s name (strip of paper)
    • *Look for: children recognizing their name
  • Child takes strip of paper and letters to their table and glues letters on
    • *Look for: letter recognition, confidence identifying and matching letters, the order in which children glue the letters on, discussion about the letters (i.e. “look I have two e’s”), fine motor skills – whether they trace the letter while gluing
  • Gather on the carpet and ask students to hold their name puzzle in front of them
  • Ask students to count how many letters are in their name
  • Pull out cards with numbers on them o Hold up the number and ask whether anyone has one number in their name, etc.
    • When the number corresponding to their name is called, invite them to put their name “puzzle” on the floor under the number card with the appropriate number. A graph will be created on the floor.
    • *Look for children counting accurately
  • Analysis of the graph
    • Ask, “What number has the most names under it?”
    • State the information: “Four people have eight letters in their name.”
  • After everyone has had the mini lesson, fasten it to the wall with all their names in a place where children can naturally study it