The absolute most important part of an ABC Chart is the pictures that you choose that go along with each letter. If you’ve never put together an ABC Chart before, you’re probably thinking, it’s easy, just get a different picture that starts with each letter of the alphabet: ape, bat, chair, dog, funny, etc. Easy peasy. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. There are certain rules you have to follow when making an ABC Chart and I’ve broken most of them in the example I just provided. You can download this chart of ABC Rules if you would like.
Rules for creating an ABC Chart:
- Words should be nouns that are easily depicted with a single picture. Good example: butterfly, Bad example: funny
- Use the short vowel sounds for all of the vowels. (This is only true for preschool. You want the first ABC Chart that is introduced to have short vowel sounds and the second to have long vowel sounds.) Good example: umbrella, Bad example: ape
- Do not use any digraphs!!! Digraphs are sounds that use two or more letters (i.e. ch, wh, th) chair, whale, and thumb all start with digraphs. Good example: caterpillar, Bad example: chair
- Simple and fun pictures are best. Good example: snowman, Bad example: sycamore
- The letter X is tricky. Some say you should use an object that actually starts with x (xylophone). However, this is not the sound x usually makes so it can be confusing to students. Some say you should use a word that ends with the x sound so students learn the sound that x makes (box). This can also be confusing to students because every other picture begins with the letter from the ABC Chart, but x does not. You can compromise and use “x-ray.” It has the x sound and starts with the letter x. This is confusing, too, though because technically the x is x-ray says /eks/ not /ks/. Make your own judgment call on this one and just know that whatever you choose, it won’t be perfect.
Now that I’ve listed the rules I bet you’re thinking, “Forget it, I’m not making an ABC Chart, just tell me where I can find one.” This brings up another important thing to know about ABC Charts. Whatever pictures you choose for each letter, you want to use those same pictures to represent that letter throughout the whole year. If you are doing a letter of the week type curriculum, you want your ABC Chart to match your letter of the week activities. You can obviously point out that other words start with that letter and do crafts and such that have that letter represented by a different picture, but for the most part, you want each letter to be associated with the picture on the ABC Chart.
In my preschool, I am using the Letter of the Week curriculum by Confessions of a Homeschooler. She has tons of great activities for each letter. My ABC Chart corresponds with the pictures of her letter of the week curriculum. Almost every time throughout the year, if we are doing an S activity, we’ll be doing something with a snowman. If we are doing an M activity, we’ll be doing something with monkeys.
If you are also using the Confessions of Homeschooler Letter of the Week curriculum, click here for a free printable of my ABC Chart that goes along with it. If you are going to use different activities or different words for your letter activities, I strongly suggest that you make your own ABC Chart. They are really not that difficult. Just make a 5×6 table in Microsoft word and add letters and some clip art. If you do make your own, I would love to hear what pictures you used for each letter.