Product Review of Name Play: a name reading and writing practice kit
Name Play: a name reading and writing practice kit is an early literacy app that uses names as the context for teaching learners about letters and spelling. Students open their lockers to choose from a variety of games that all involve playing with and/or spelling their names. Activities include a magnetic letter board, vintage video games, writing practice, and more. Students or educators can add lockers with the names of classmates and play with those names as well. To explore the hallway, learners swipe from side to side and find more name-based activities, such as handing out lunch boxes according to named labels. Each completed activity earns learners a new way to customize or decorate the lockers.
Use Name Play as a gateway into the world of reading and writing. Only one name can be the main focus at a time, and there’s no way to easily change this, so educators may need to uninstall and reinstall the app for each new student. Involve each student in this process so they see how their own name becomes the protagonist. Add the class’s names to help learners learn to spell and recognize the names of their classmates. Help introduce each of the activities to the learners so they know what they’re supposed to do, then let them explore freely to experiment as they please. Continue the learning offscreen with exercises in which learners read, write, and play with the letters of their names and those of their classmates. For instance, learners can create posters using the letters of their names to think of other words that begin with the same letter — for example, “Alex” can be “Alligator, Lion, Elephant, Xylophone.”
Name Play is a great way to hook learners into literacy learning activities. It’s fun for learners to see their own names — and those of their classmates — front and center in this collection of simple but cleverly effective activities. Because learners see familiar names as the protagonists, they get to feel a great sense of ownership over what might otherwise be relatively standard letter-play games. It’s also harder for these simple games to feel repetitive because learners likely will delight in repeating each game with the names of all their classmates, friends, and/or family. There is a dashboard to “track” which activities learners complete, but in reality it doesn’t give any particularly useful information. Overall, Name Play nicely provides a more personalized experience with early literacy games that’ll go a long way to keeping learners engaged with learning.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Using familiar names makes otherwise simple activities shine. There’s a good variety of things to do, and since learners can keep adding names, the fun easily continues.
Curriculum and Instruction
Free exploration through letter-play activities gets learners manipulating names, and there’s a variety of interactions with names that enhance learning potential. It would be nice to see more diversity in pre-programmed names.
Students collect locker decorations via completed activities. There are a variety of ways to customize the games to make them relevant and accessible. Not all activities are immediately clear, however, and the dashboard isn’t very useful.