ABC Chart: How To Use An Alphabet Chart+ Free Printable
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If you’re looking for a good free ABC chart to use with your students the look no further! Learn exactly how to use alphabet charts and download my free printable ABC chart below.
What is an alphabet chart?
An alphabet chart, also called ABC chart or alphabet poster, is a chart that includes all the letters of the alphabet. Some charts also include pictures that represent each letter sound and keywords for each letter.
The alphabet chart I created contains the letters in both upper and lower case, red vowels which is consistent with my other phonics resources, and an image with a written keyword for each letter to help students match sounds to letters.
How to use an ABC chart
ABC charts are a great reference tool for students to have on hand in the early years. But it may take some teaching and modeling for students to begin to use them unprompted.
When you introduce a letter, have students point to it on the chart and say the letter name, keyword, and sound. Model this first.
Point to the letter and say “A apple /ă/.” Have students repeat this and use this format for all the letters.
Here are the letters and keywords included in the alphabet poster:
- Aa – apple – /ă/
- Bb – ball – /b/
- Cc – cat – /k/
- Dd – dog – /d/
- Ee – elephant – /ĕ/
- Ff – fish – /f/
- Gg – goat – /g/
- Hh – hat – /h/
- Ii – igloo – /ĭ/
- Jj – juice – /j/
- Kk – kite – /k/
- Ll – leaf – /l/
- Mm – monkey – /m/
- Nn – nose – /n/
- Oo – octopus – /ŏ/
- Pp – pig – /p/
- Qu qu – queen – /kw/
- Rr – rabbit – /r/
- Ss – sun – /s/
- Tt – turtle – /t/
- Uu – umbrella – /u/
- Vv – volcano – /v/
- Ww – watermelon – /w/
- Xx – box – /ks/
- Yy – yo-yo – /y/
- Zz – zebra – /z/
All of the words have the letter at the beginning with the exception of X. X usually represents the sound /ks/ which is found in the middle or end of words like ‘box’ and ‘extra’.
Also, note that Q is typically taught with U, as QU /kw/ since they are usually together. The generalization the Q is always with a U helps students remember that. But remember this is a generalization and not a rule! A few borrowed words have Q without U, such as ‘burqa’.
Show students how to reference their alphabet posters while working. Model this several times whole group and students will eventually pick it up. Since it is a helpful tool, they will use it when they need to. Some students will need the visual cues that this chart provides and some won’t.
ABC charts also make a great reference sheet for parents or homework folders.
Should you use an Alphabet Chart or a Sound Wall Chart?
It’s important for students to learn both the letter names and the sounds they make, along with the different ways to spell each sound.
Many letters make more than one sound, so an alphabet chart does not address this. Alphabet charts only show the letters and one possible sound.
This makes ABC charts great for early readers, such as pre-k and kindergarten, but once students start learning that some letters and letter combinations represent different sounds, that’s when a sound wall chart would be better suited.
A sound wall chart contains all the possible English sounds (44) along with a keyword image for the sound. Some also contain the different ways to spell each sound with keywords.
You can see my mini sound wall pictured below. Because there are 44 sounds, it’s difficult to fit them all on one page so it is split into 2 pages: consonants and vowels. You can see that to use a sound wall students should already know their letters.
These Mini Sound Walls are great to print out and include in a reading or writing folder or display in a center. It also comes with a Google Slides digital version.
For a full class larger display, I recommend the regular Sound Wall. You could bundle both the mini and regular for a discount with my Sound Wall Bundle.
Download the free ABC chart printable
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