You can use student name books to help explain to students the importance of correctly saying the names of their classmates. Here is a list of student name books from a diverse selection of authors. They are great at back to school time or anytime during the year when a new student enters the class.
For ELLs, it can be especially frustrating when a teacher or classmates do not pronounce their name correctly. Taking some time at the beginning of the year for students to introduce themselves and if they want, talk about their name can help students to feel welcome. Pronouncing a students’ name correctly helps students to feel welcome and that they are important.
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Your Name is a Song– This book tells the story of a young girl that is upset after her teacher and classmates are unable to pronounce her name. Her mother tells her that “your name is a song” and helps her to see how names are unique and special.
Here is a FREE activity for students to draw symbols that represent their name and introduce themselves.
Rene Has Two Last Names / Rene tiene dos apellidos– In this bilingual book, Rene shares the importance of both of his last names with his new class. At first, his teacher only writes one of his last names, and children tease him about the length of his name. Rene decides to use a family tree project to explain how both of his last names are an important part of him.
The Name Jar– Yoon-Hey is worried that the other kids will not be able to pronounce her Korean name at her new school. She tells her new classmates that she will choose a new name the following week. The students try and help by giving her suggestions in a name jar. One student visits Yoon-Hey at her home and learns her real name. Eventually, Yoon-Hey decides to use her Korean name at school.
Alma and How She Got Her Name– Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela complains to her father that her name is too long. He explains the origins of the different people that make up her name. Alma identifies with different aspects of all of these individuals and the stories that they told. By the end of her father’s explanation of her name, she is proud of her name.
My Name Is Maria Isabel– In this chapter book, Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez moves to a new school. Her teacher tries to change her name to Marry Lopez because there are two other Maria’s in the class. Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez does not want to lose the identity of her name. In between the everyday struggles of adjusting to a new school she figures out a way to use a class project to show her teacher how important her name is to her.
My Name Is Sangoel– Sangoel is adjusting to his new life in the United States. He immigrated as a refugee from Sudan. People have trouble pronouncing his name. Finally, Sangoel comes up with a creative way to help his classmates say his name correctly.