ABC and Me!

Presented by: Melissa Mcelroy-Elve

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


Early literacy students are engaged in a kinesthetic approach to putting things in alphabetical order. This is an introductory strategy that can be explored and expanded to alphabetizing in increasing specificity. Children are motivated by the use of their own names and those of their peers. Students can then use this skill to explore a variety of information skills, i.e. early dictionaries, finding books in the library. Adaptations for inclusion of students with special needs is included with some sign language, singing, and modifications for different literacy levels are also explained.

Goals & Objectives:

Instructional Goals:

    To be able to put things in "ABC order" using the initial letter in a word or name

    To recognize when items are organized in "ABC order" (alphabetized)


Learning Objectives:

    Given a letter of the alphabet, students will be able to put it in correct ABC order on the "letterline"

    Given the name of a classmate, students will be able to put it in the correct section on the "letterline"

    Given an early dictionary, student will find a word that starts with the same letter of their first name

    Given a letter, students will be able to find that section of the picture books and find a book whose author or illustrator has that letter as an initial letter in their name

    Given a letter, students will find a picture book by an author whose last name starts with the same letter


Motivational Goals:

    Students will be confident they can find a book in the picture book sectiona by the first letter of their last name

      Students will be confident they can find a section in an early dictionary that matches an alphabet letter

    Student will know that things in our world are organized in "ABC" (alphabetized) order, a lifelong skill that will lead to success






    Students will practice a variety of alphabetizing activities over the next several years using a "letterline."  At this introduction to the strategy, the concept of ABC or alphabetical order will be introduced using the "ABC Song" and sign language letters while singing.  (Signing tends to slow down the L,M, N, O, P section so that we identify the individual letters).  


The librarian will put the letters A, Z, and L on the "letterline."  Deliberalty leaving very little space between the A and L.  (The cards are hung like little tents by their fold with the letter side out)  The letter are place on the letterline so it reads from left to right.


Then each child is given a letter of the alphabet, children with special needs are given a letter the teacher has indicated they know.  Each child takes turns to put their letter on the letterline. 


The first several children who must put a letter between A and L will model for each other how the cards can be slid along the letterline to make room for the correct order.  There can be some lowercase letters included to ensure that all children have a card.  These should be given to students who recognize them. 


While they are learning to letterline procedure, the content must be easy.  Using known letters at this point increases motivation and ensures that student can focus on the new strategy of using the letterline and taking turns.



After the whole alphabet has been introduced, each child can have a turn placing their name on the letterline in the correct section (by initial letter).  At this point, no attention to second and third letter alphabetizing will be mentioned.



Students will then be given their name cards and instructed to find the section of picture books that corresponds with their initial letter.  They will be asked to find a picture book whose author/illustrator's letter is the same as theirs. (Serendipity might mean a child could stumble across an illustrator with the same initial letter.  At this introductory level, this could also constitute success.) 


Subsequent practice will ensure that all children will eventually understand that they will search for information by the first letter of the last name, but it is not necessary yet.


Learning Assessment Methods:

Students will be considered successful if they are able to show the matching letter on their name card and the cover of their book.

While students are searching for a book, the children waiting could be exploring beginner dictionaries.

Further assesment could have them show the section of the dictionary corresponding to their initial letter of their first name.