Craft Activity: Lickety Letters

There’s nothing quite as powerful as a child’s name. It’s the first word most children learn to read and write. In the first Craft Activity in Reading Camp Week 1, campers use letters, glue, and creativity to make their own name signs.


Take notes in your Learning Log as you watch the slideshow.
  1. How does Deborah make the activity appropriate for each camper’s skill level?
  2. How do conversations help her to learn more about each child and his/her letter identification skills?


Even though Deborah’s kids are at different reading skill levels, she manages to make sure everyone is engaged during this craft activity. What can we learn from her?

1. Keep skill levels in mind.

When preparing for the activity, keep in mind the three different skill level options offered in the Curriculum, and, if you used the pre-test assessment, refer to your campers’ results in the letter identification section. Make a judgment as to what assortment of letters you will include in the zippered sandwich bag that you prepare for each child:

Level 1—the letters of the child’s name, plus a card with the child’s name written in capital letters

Level 2—the letters of the name plus 1-2 distracter letters

Level 3—the letters of the name plus 6 distracter letters

2. Define workspaces.

Consider how you will define each child’s workspace. A name strip can serve to define a workspace; in addition it provides a name-writing model for children who need the support. A personal work mat can also keep each child’s letters and other supplies in a contained space.

3. Circulate.

Walk around and have short one-on-one conversations with campers as they work. This is a great way to get to know each child and learn more about his or her letter recognition skills. Point to the letters on the child’s sign and ask questions such as:

  • Can you tell me the name of this letter?
  • Can you spell your name for me?
  • What’s the first letter in your name?
  • Let’s look around at your friends’ names. Does someone else at this table also have a name (that begins with/that has) the letter (L)?

Teacher-to-Teacher Tips

“Lickety Letters works well as a first day activity because even if you don’t know the child and his/her level, you can learn both very quickly. As children work on their name signs, make connections and have a conversation with each child such as: Your name is Bobby? I have a cousin whose name is Bobbie too! What letter does your name start with? Yes, B—hers does too! How many b’s do you have in your name? She has three also! This is so cool! The next time I see my cousin, I’m going to tell her about you.”
—Trista Peitzman, Johnston, Iowa

"We have a checklist of children’s names and make sure we check off every time we interact with a child. The list helps us make sure we talk to each child every day and give each an opportunity to shine.”
—Loretta Baker, Baltimore, Maryland

"At our Reading Camps, teachers and assistants often sit at the tables and create their own craft activities along with the children. There is a really nice sense of early literacy community as everyone works and talks about what they are doing."
-Patricia Ragin, Buffalo, New York

"For all of the activities that involved adhering letters to things, we used an assortment of foam letters with sticky backs. Eliminating glue from the activities is a helpful thing."
-Tasha Weinstein, Tallahassee, Florida


What are some questions you might ask a child at work on his or her Lickety Letters project to make a friendly connection and to get a better sense of his or her level of letter identification skill? Write your ideas in your Learning Log.

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Additional Resources:

PBS Teachers PBS Raising Readers PBS Parents