What's in a name? That which we call a rose
I hate to disagree with Shakespeare here, but when it comes to a young child's name, it means the world. Their name is their identity, and using it is the first way in which they define who they are. A child's name is the first word they recognize in print, and it will be the first one they write. And this recognition is also the realization that they belong, that they are part of a community.
Soon enough she will begin to recognize those twisted lines, especially the ones that make the first character: "That's my letter!". When a teacher asks her to find her name, they will often refer to that first letter.
Before long she'll recognize all the characters in her name "I also have an A in my name!." And then they start popping up in her drawings, peppered in between flowers and houses.
Her name is the gateway to "cracking the code", it is the beginning of the reading and writing adventure that we hope will bring much pleasure and learning with it.
When a child walks up to his cubby, he always sees his name, often accompanied by his picture or a symbol that identifies him. When he sees those characters next to his work, his sense of identity takes on a new layer: that of his authorship, which gives him a sense of ownership and worth. "I made that".
Now, in a classroom, a child's name is rarely displayed in isolation; there are other children's works next to it, other names on a class list, other tags on an attendance chart... These other words they will learn to recognize soon, they mean that they belong to the group, that they are part of a larger unit that is separate from their home cocoon.
From the word that is a child's name, they will get their identity as creators and as valuable, useful members of a community of readers...