You’ve taught your child some letters, now what? You need an easy and engaging way to practice those skills…enter Alphabet Charts. This magical printable is perfect for beginners, growing readers, and even struggling readers. Simple games and quick activities will make the Alphabet Chart your go-to daily alphabet resource.
After reading this, you will:
- Know exactly why Alphabet Charts are so powerful
- Understand what makes a good Alphabet Chart
- Get 8 genius activities to try with your Alphabet Chart
- Download your FREE Alphabet Chart
What Exactly are Alphabet Charts?
Alphabet charts are simply a page that contains all of the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet with a corresponding keyword picture.
These charts are used to help children learn to identify letters and also learn letter-sound correspondence.
Why Alphabet Charts are so Powerful
There are many reasons why Alphabet Charts are a powerful tool for learning the alphabet. Let’s take a look at some of those reasons.
1. They Act as a Resource for Kids
As kids learn the alphabet, they are having to remember 52 different symbols and 26 sounds (eventually 44!) to become a proficient reader.
Having a one-page chart that displays all of the letter symbols and provides a keyword that demonstrates that letter’s primary sound is a great reference tool for kids to use as they are trying to learn and apply the alphabetic principle.
This helps them remember a letter name or sound because the keyword picture can act as a trigger for long-term memory retrieval, allowing kids to pull the information that they have previously learned into their working memory.
2. They Incorporate Play into Learning
Alphabet Charts provide plenty of opportunities for kids to learn the alphabet through playful experiences.
There are so many activities that children will love to take part in that involve an alphabet chart that they won’t even realize they are learning in the process.
3. They Provide Exposure
Even if you haven’t introduced any letters to your child yet, alphabet charts can still be a powerful tool.
They can provide exposure to letters that children have not explicitly learned yet.
Because each letter has a keyword picture underneath, children are able to associate a letter sound with a letter formation even though they have not necessarily learned that letter name yet.
This helps prepare them for acquiring new letters at a faster rate when it is time to teach them new letters.
Things to Look for in an ABC Chart
There are many Alphabet charts out there, but you want to be sure your Alphabet chart is meeting some very important qualities before using it with your child.
Make Sure Key Pictures Actually Represent the Primary Sound
Nothing drives me more crazy than when I see a keyword picture on an Alphabet Chart that doesn’t actually represent the primary sound that a letter makes!
A great example of this that is flooding the interwebs is when the picture “egg” is used for “Ee”.
Think about it, listen to the sound that the “e” makes in egg. Stretch it out so you can really hear that sound! Now, stretch out “elephant”.
THEY ARE TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT SOUNDS! The “e” in “egg” actually sounds more like a long “a” than a short “e”. Why would we use this as a keyword picture to actually represent the short e sound? It doesn’t make sense and it only makes learning the short e sound more difficult.
When it comes to Alphabet Charts….avoid eggs!
Keywords Should Not Be Blends
Keyword pictures should not be pictures of words that begin with a consonant blend. An example of this would be grapes.
You want the keyword picture to use a beginning sound that is easy to isolate from the rest of the word so that a child can hear it very clearly.
Some blends make consonants really difficult to hear in isolation for beginning readers. It’s best to avoid them.
Key Pictures on ABC Chart are Used on Other Alphabet Representations
If you have a blown up alphabet chart, a word wall, alphabet keycards or letter cards, all of the pictures should match the pictures on your Alphabet Chart.
It is important to remain consistent across mediums so that your child can have one keyword that they will focus on for each letter.
You don’t want to make them switch back and forth between different keyword pictures. This loses the whole purpose of having the picture in the first place. Remember, that picture is there to serve as a visual cue to retrieve a letter name/sound from long-term memory.
Check out my Everything ABCs to get a complete suite of alphabet resources that all use the same keyword pictures.
8 Alphabet Chart Activities
The following Alphabet Chart activities are perfect for little ones who are learning their letters and sounds, whether they are at the beginning of their journey or not.
Matching is a very simple way to promote letter recognition.
All you need are someand your Alphabet Chart. Pull out some of the letters your child is currently working on identifying.
Have your child place theon the corresponding box of the ABC Chart. For bonus points: have your child say the letter name, primary sound and picture name: “C, /k/, cat“.
2. Find the Letter…
Ask your child to find and point to a certain letter on the ABC Chart that you name.
If your child is in the beginning stages of learning the alphabet and is struggling finding a letter, give them clues by telling them what row they can find the letter in.
3. Find the Letter that Makes the Sound…
A different twist on #2, simply ask your child to find and point to the letter that makes the sound you say.
You can give the same hints if your child is struggling by showing them the specific row they might find the letter in.
4. What Letter is Missing?
Cover up a couple of letters on the ABC chart with post-it notes and have your child guess what letter(s) you’ve hidden.
The key to this game, especially for children who are just starting out on their alphabetic principle journey, is that you should only cover up the letter symbols, but leave the picture visible.
Again, the whole point of the picture is to serve as a visual cue to retrieve the letter name/sound from your child’s long-term memory. This game tests if this is working!
5. Name a Word that Starts with the Letter…
To extend your child’s learning beyond the chart, have them think of a different word that is NOT on the Alphabet chart for a letter you ask them.
To make this a little more engaging, play with them by having them say a word, then you say a word. Keep bouncing back and forth saying a word that begins with the target letter until you’ve exhausted all of the ones you can think of.
6. Find the Letter that “______” Starts With
This game is opposite of #5. Instead of having your child tell you words that begin with a target letter, you’re going to name random words and have your child point to the correct beginning letter on the Alphabet Chart.
This brings in some phonological awareness skills as well since your child has to discriminate the initial sound of the word that you are sharing with them in order to find the corresponding letter on the chart.
7. Fill in Your Own Alphabet Chart
Finally, have your child get creative. Use blank Alphabet Charts and have your child draw pictures to go with each of the letters. This makes a second, meaningful Alphabet Chart for your child to use and practice with as well.
Just keep your original Alphabet Chart for formal games!
8. Blank Space for Practice
The blank space at the bottom of your Alphabet Chart is perfect for practicing letter formation when your child is ready.
Alphabet Charts for the Win
So there you have it! 8 powerful ways that alphabet charts can help your child become a pro. Make sure to vary your alphabet practice with other games to keep learning fresh and fun. You might want to check out:
- Bathtub Letter Learning Activities
- Screen-Free Alphabet Activities
- 7 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Help Your Child Learn the Alphabet