Children who can write their name well at the start of school generally perform better in reading and maths later on, according to new research published today.
The study also found that children with longer names do not gain an advantage as was previously believed.
The research by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University shows that name writing ability at an early age is a robust predictor of later academic ability in reading, phonology as well as mathematics.
The research contradicts previous studies which suggested that having a longer name was an advantage at a young age, giving certain children a wider array of letters to draw on as a foundation for later alphabet knowledge.
These findings, published in the academic journal Educational Research, support the use of name writing as a valid assessment technique. Teachers should continue to look at the quality of name writing in young children as a means of identifying potential underlying difficulties and putting necessary support in place, say the researchers.