Three studies were performed to explore the role of letter names in children's learning of correspondences between phonemes and graphemes. Some preschoolers and kindergartners were found to spell initial /w/ as y. They made this error because the name of y, /wai/, begins with /w/. Kindergartners in another study often said that y makes the sound /wdoubt/, even after they had been taught otherwise. Other results suggested that children benefit from letter-name knowledge to spell phonemes such as /b/, which occur at the beginning of a consonant-vowel letter name. Letter-name knowledge is less helpful for phonemes such as /1/, which occur at the end of a vowel-consonant letter name. Our findings suggest that children use their knowledge of letter names and their phonological segmentation skills when they learn the correspondences between phonemes and graphemes. They do not memorize these links in a rote, paired-associate manner.