Skip to main content

Children's own names influence their spelling


We analyzed spellings that were produced by children in kindergarten (N = 115), first grade (N = 104), and second grade (N = 77) in order to determine whether children's own names influence their spellings of other words. Kindergartners overused letters from their own first names (or commonly used nicknames) when spelling. Kindergartners with longer names, who had more own-name letters available for intrusions, tended to produce longer spellings than did children with shorter names. Moreover, the spellings of kindergartners with long names tended to contain a lower proportion of phonetically reasonable letters than did the spellings of children with short names. These effects appeared to be confined to children who read below the first grade level. The results support the view that children's own names play a special role in the acquisition of literacy. They further show that children choose letters in a way that reflects their experience with the letters.

Corresponding author
Rebecca Treiman, Psychology Department, Washington University, Campus Box 1125, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899. E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed