Do you have an ABC Chart with pictures that you are really excited about? Not yet? Earlier this week I had a post about how to make an ABC Chart. You can also download the ABC Chart I use. Are you confused about how exactly to use an ABC Chart? Read on, my friend, read on.
I knew that ABC Charts were important and that they helped with a lot of important things, but I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it. Do I show them to students? Do we take turns naming the pictures? Do we go in order or out of order? After some research I have a much more specific idea of what to do. This is a step-by-step, very detailed process. Maybe it’s a little too detailed, but I want to make sure the directions are clear.
First, you want two kinds of ABC Charts, a big one and a small one. The big one will be hung on a wall where everyone can see it. The teacher or a student will use a pointer to point to each of the parts. The small one will be on a single piece of paper. I suggest printing it in color and laminating it. Each student will look at it and point with the finger to the different parts.
I used the Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week cards to make my large ABC Chart. I made my large ABC Chart by going to her phonics page, and clicking on the A-Z Large Floor Mats. Next, I clicked the print button. When it got to the print screen, under Page Sizing and Handling, I clicked on the button that says “Multiple.” This prints four floor mats to a page. I bordered each letter card with construction paper, then I glued it onto poster board. It did not quite fit on one poster board, so I had to use a little piece of a second one.
There are three phases that you will go through with an ABC Chart. You will stay at each stage for a few days to several months depending on the needs of your class. Here are the different phases. (If you would like to see me demonstrate how to do this, I’ve included a video below)
- Point to the uppercase and/or lowercase letter in the box and say the letter name. Then point to the picture and say what the picture is. Repeat for all letters. It will sound like this, “A (point to the upper and lowercase a) apple (point to the apple picture), B (point to upper and lowercase b) butterfly (point to butterfly), C caterpillar, D dinosaur, etc.”
- Once your students are proficient at the first stage (this may take a day, a few weeks, or a few months) move on to stage two. Point to the uppercase letter and name it. Point to the lowercase letter and name it. Point to the picture and say what it is. Repeat for all letters. It will sound like this “A (point to the uppercase A) a (point to the lowercase a) apple (point to the apple picture), B (point to uppercase B) b (point to lowercase b) butterfly (point to butterfly), C c caterpillar, D d dinosaur, E e elephant, etc.”
- Move onto the third stage once students are proficient at the second stage or once you start teaching the letter sounds. Point to the uppercase letter and say the sound. Point to the lowercase letter and say the sound. Point to the picture and say what it is. Repeat for all letters. When you see / / with a letter in between it means that you are saying the sound for that letter, not the name of that letter. It will sound like this “/a/ (point to uppercase a) /a/ (point to owercase a) apple (point to apple), /b/ (uppercase b) /b/ (lowercase b) butterfly (point to butterfly), /c/ /c/ caterpillar, /d/ /d/ dinosaur, etc.” Be sure to use the short vowel sounds for the vowels.
Using an ABC Chart is great because it really helps solidify the sounds that each letter makes. It also really helps with alphabetical order. It also really helps students with tracking and learning to read left to right and top to bottom. It also really helps with letter recognition. It also really helps with cleaning your classroom (ok, not really, I just wanted you to realize how great ABC Charts are and I got a little carried away ;) ).
In my classroom we do our ABC Chart everyday with calendar time. You can incorporate it any way you want, but don’t be afraid of doing it too often. Even if you are meeting daily, I would suggest doing it every day.