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I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.

Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it in the classroom?

Also see our Best Tarheel Reader alphabet books.


Alphabet Videos and our Alphabet Resource search

Students can study and learn the alphabet on EnglishCentral. Teachers registerand assign video lessons and track student achievement. 

This is my favorite Alphabet video.... I also used those phonics things/videos on the practice page in phonics. They are cool.

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What ages are you thinking of, News? There are so many great alphabet books published in English... it's a genre all by itself! Here is one of my favorites, and I think EFL students can infer the meaning of many of the words by simply paying attention to the illustrations... anybody else love guinea pigs?

I went to go get the voicethread, and decided what the hey, just copy the whole discussion. It resides in the group, English for Friendship & Fun:

My husband has been in America for 30 years, and sometimes when we talk and I don't understand a word, I still ask him to "spell it". Knowing the letter names in English can be very useful!

This video from Real English makes me laugh... sometimes conversations go like this : ) Being able to spell in English comes in handy! (in handy = useful)

I know- you want even more alphabet practice, don't you? (In English, we have a saying, humor me ; ) ) How about a funny picture book that will help you learn at least 26 new words in English, without having to look any of them up in the dictionary? Alright....

Now that you can spell in English, you want to write in English also, yes? Here are the words from the book. Most of them are adjectives (descriptive words), so they are good for writing.
awake, bouncy, clean, dirty, empty, ferocious, greedy, high, itchy, juicy, kind, loud, mean, neat, open, prickly, quiet, rich, slippery, timid, upside-down, vain, wobbly, extra, young, zzzzzz

Let's use the words to write a story. I'll go first.

"I'm awake!" I yelled as my little dog bounced up and down on my pillow. "You are a mean little dog" I said as I got up on my wobbly, still asleep legs. I cooked her breakfast, a juicy chicken thigh, as she jumped high and chased her tail in happy excitement. "You have a ferocious appetite," I said as she greedily cleaned her bowl and gave it several extra licks until the bowl was empty. Then I opened the door so she could go outside and bark loud and get dirty. "Ah, peace and quiet," I said as I went back to bed. Zzzzzzz...

Gabby, the little dog with a BIG BARK

Now you try. Two or three sentences is a good start. Don't worry about grammar or being correct, just practice the vocabulary : )


what a great voicethread! Now that I think of it, there are so many ways to use the alphabet in class - not just for beginners either!

Try these attached Alphabet Organizers and get your students to brainstorm vocab for any kind of category (animals / jobs / personal adjectives / countries etc...). Then share them, make posters, play categories or guess it games....

If you do countries - you can use this crazy video to prompt the students!

You'll LOVE this guys Alphabet video blog...wow, he has it all. So interesting.
David, you should like it- you helped me make it extra cute! And you have heard Gabby, you can testify that she is indeed a little dog with a big bark! (Ouch, she's doing it again!)
Woa!! What a blog! (Alphabet video blog) And here is a list of even more alphabet resources that I got from his website... News Now, what a thread you have produced!! Who would have known there are all these (cool) ABC resources?
Yes, so much that can be included here. Great thread. I'd suggest ALL TEACHERS start at Tar Heel Reader. All the alphabet stuff you could want, made by teachers and students! This is my fav. letter A book.

I also had to add this wonderfully creative alphabet video from our own archive....gotta love this one, always makes me hungry.

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0
Here is a fascinating presentation of all the letters of the alphabet in butterfly wings!

Kjell B. Sandved wrote The Butterfly Alphabet. It all started when he saw the letter F clearly in wing of a butterfly. It took him more than 25 years, with visits to more than 30 countries, to discover and photograph all the letters of the alphabet in butterfly wings.

I wrote in Lessons in a Can, how to use this presentation I made, to teach both the alphabet and the ASL signs. A great TPR style of learning! These make great pictures for the classroom or flashcards (File - Print Preview - Select # of slides on each page - Print).


Here are a few from my youtube page:

The normal ABCs

Normal Again

A little cooler

The coolest

Now...what can we do with all these letters!

1.) Spelling Chant

2.) ABC organizing with Songs and Touch to Learn Alphabet

I've attached the file, but here's the link for making the project: ABC Touch To Learn It's quite simple. Pick an ABC song (kids love the Rock and Roll version), and take some ABC cards from the wall and have the students pass them between each other. Stop the music and whoever has the card has to put the cards back into the right place. You can adapt this so easily to incorporate more language, patterns, tasks, or the more authentic and natural conceptulizations of touch and color and the relationships of both with the letters: I have kids who will just walk the alphabet and feel the letters, or sharpen their pencils on them, but whatever! I've been planning on doing this with phonics (from a less structuralist perspective) as well to incorporate more of that future oriented and independent learning, but not yet...

Here's a picture of my old ABC wall (My new room is much nicer and the ABC wall is much prettier now!!):

Sush a nice activity, Nelson! I am wondering what the symbols mean before the letters (in your directions):

/eI/  AJK
/aI/  IY
/e/  FSXLMN
/ju:/  QUW
Misc:  HROZ

Also, is there a reason behind the color groupings?

Do you know that using sandpaper letters is a common technique in special ed instruction here? Get that tactile sense in. Interesting how many crossovers there are, as David as noted and researched.

I wish I had my own classroom of young learners! I know that I cursed things many days but also miss it deeply. Such a real connection and it allowed me to really "do" education as I believe and as you are suggesting -- in a way that children/students learn in an "affective" / "effective" manner. Personally, beyond all the theory and long words - language teaching methodology can be divided by those that believe we "mostly" learn unconsciously and by participating in meaning filled action and those that believe we consciously learn rules, connections, responses. I by far, lean on the left - if I may say it that way......

Here is my favorite ABC presentation. Kids Love Bembo! Amazing!

On our Elementary Page, there is also an alphabet category chalk full of great presentations for the ABCs....
Something Rawya wrote me I think says it best... we do our best to teach with love. David, I think that is it! That is what I do. When the children are very little, they do not hide their need to learn in a loving environment. When we get older, we make a defense against showing our vulnerability, but it is still there, we still have the same needs.

Yes, I think it is possible, obviously, to learn in an environment that is not loving, but what a stark difference. Whether it's language acquisition, or organic chemistry. We can learn in joy, and have it be a kind of healing experience from all the other things that are bound to happen in our lives, have it strengthen us and give us confidence and a sense of our value in the world, a sense that, if we get it long enough, almost can't be taken away... or we can struggle to learn in some degree of pain.

I think what I mean to say is, when I teach through love, it has never been the wrong thing to do. Whatever else the circumstances.

The symbols are phonetic markers for how we typically pronounce the ABCs (I'm not sure if IPA or not, but out of a Cambridge book I found in China), not for teaching through phonics. It's the same with the colors: they coordinate with the similar sounds: A, J, K. Also, it's the same with the grit of the sandpaper: 2000 grit was B, C, D, E, G, and so on.

Again, both you and David are so in tune with "it". I love the theory, for it has helped me develop so much, but as you both mention, it's the meaning. For me it comes down to community and connection; I think much the same as what Ellen calls teaching with love. For all the professionalism and books and hoops we create, it really comes down to the simple human connections: you really can't go wrong if you have those values (love and the importance of community) as your central tenants, nor will your students be let down. It's just so interesting that through all the information/theory I've processed, I've been brought to THE simplistic answer: community and connection. People may have different ways of finding "it" or may have different names for "it," but essentially the same ground is covered.

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