Back to School Name Report: The Straight-A Generation

Filed under: Big Kids, Baby Names


Kindergarten is the front line of the naming revolution. By the time a generation of names hits college, we've had time to get used to them -- Alexis and Cameron, your dorms await. But the 5- and 6-year-olds starting kindergarten in the coming weeks carry names as new as a freshly sharpened number-two pencil. What can America's kindergarten teachers expect? Think straight A's.

But "A" is more than just a perfect score. It's also the sound that floods the name list for the year 2004, when today's kindergartners were born. Just look at the blockbuster hit Aiden. It wasn't a top-1000 name when the college freshmen were born, but the kindergarten class boasts 34 different Aiden rhymes among the top 1000 boys' names. Names like Braedon, Jaydin, Haiden, Kadin and Aydan keep rising, so the kindergartners are a sign of more straight A's to come.

Girls get in on the "A" fun, too. Thirty-five of the kindergarten girls' top 1000 start with the "Kay" sound. That includes names like Kayleigh, Kaelyn and Kaydence, and it just scratches the surface. Flocks of Baylies, Taylors, Haileys and Jaylins are close behind. New A-filled inventions and creative spellings abound.

Are modern parents trying to send subconscious messages to their babies' teachers?

"You are getting veeeeeery sleepy. You will give my little Raylie or Graydon an 'A' in coloring between the lines." Probably not. The A-sound is simply the fresh style of the moment, just as Kris-something was in the '70s and Something-ld was in the '30s (Donald, Ronald, Gerald).

What is different about this generation of names is that they're not balanced out by the old standards. Names like Margaret and Catherine, Robert and Edward used to be the steady, rhyme-free stream into which new trends trickled.

Today, those standards aren't standard anymore. Even the classics that parents do choose, like Jacob, fit the sound of the times. That leaves this generation with more of a trademark sound than any before it. So stock up on "A" stickers, kindergarten teachers. You'll need them.

Got a name question? Ask The Name Lady. Drop her a line here!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.