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Banner: Beyond the Letters: A Retrospective of Canadian Alphabet Books
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Educational Resources

Suggested educational activities for Beyond the Letters: A Retrospective of Canadian Alphabet Books have been developed to encourage students to enhance their knowledge of the alphabet, as well as to develop their reading and writing skills. The suggested activities also provide opportunities to combine learning the alphabet with various creative writing and art projects. In some activities, oral reading or the performance of a poem or tongue twister are included as a part of the learning experience. Teachers may wish to adapt the suggested activities to their specific class and/or curriculum needs.

Learning Outcomes

The suggested educational activities incorporate some or all of the following learning outcomes:

LANGUAGE ARTS

Reading

Students will

  • recognize letters of the alphabet and be able to identify words that begin with the same letter
  • read a variety of ABC books on various themes
  • use online and print sources such as dictionaries to find words related to a selected theme
  • read aloud a completed ABC book, poem or tongue twister to a reading buddy, group or class

Writing

Students will

  • collect and arrange words beginning with the same letter
  • produce word lists for each letter of the alphabet on a particular theme
  • create poems or tongue twisters
  • gain experience in various poetry forms, language play and word sounds

Oral and Visual Communication

Students will

  • contribute and work constructively, alone or in small groups
  • use appropriate language to present a completed ABC book to a reading buddy, group or class
  • read aloud a completed ABC book to a reading buddy, group or class
  • recite/perform a tongue twister or poem
  • create letters of the alphabet using their bodies (kinetic learning)

VISUAL ARTS

Students will

  • use their imagination and creativity in the production of an illustrated ABC book or giant tactile mural
  • choose a style of font, or design their own font, for the alphabet
  • produce a two-dimensional ABC book on a selected theme, using a variety of familiar art tools, materials and techniques

Suggested Activities

Activity 1 -- Create your Own ABC Book

Let the ABC books on this site inspire your students to create their own alphabet book, tailored to their own personal interests. Some ideas for themes are animals, food, geographical locations, habitats, nature, transportation or culture.

Activity 2 -- Become an Alphabet Contortionist

Younger children will enjoy trying to turn themselves into various letters of the alphabet, by bending their bodies and using limbs to shape individual letters. Each student can take a turn at shaping him/herself into a letter, and then the whole class can have fun trying to guess which letter it is. Warning: this activity may result in large loads of laughter!

Activity 3 -- Create a Giant Tactile ABC Mural

Send each student home with a plastic baggie, marked with a letter of the alphabet. Students are to look around the house for objects that begin with their assigned letter, and to collect these objects to bring back to class. For example, for the letter "L", students might bring in a label, a leaf, a letter, a piece of leather, a piece of lace, a lid, a plastic lizard or lion, a lollipop or a lottery ticket. Once all of the collections have been returned, students can work as a group to create a giant tactile alphabet mural with the objects.

Activity 4 -- ABC Tongue Twisters and Alphabet Poems

Read the class stories and collections of poetry or tongue twisters, which celebrate the use of the alphabet. Inspire students to try their hand at one of the following:

  • Compose a tongue twister featuring one letter of the alphabet.
  • Write a poem featuring a chosen letter of the alphabet.

Encourage your students to recite or perform their tongue twister or poem to the rest of the class.

Activity 5 -- Alphabet Month/Letter of the Day

Declare "alphabet month" at your school! Over the course of 26 school days (or weeks), participating classrooms will celebrate the "letter-of-the-day" (or "letter-of-the-week"). Students can celebrate by wearing a colour, or a piece of clothing with a design, that begins with the featured letter. Students might also bring an object to school that starts with the letter. Classes can challenge each other to produce the longest list of words in a given period of time and post them on the wall outside their classrooms. Tongue twisters containing the featured letter can be broadcast over the P.A. system each morning.

Activity 6 -- Alphabet Poetry Slam

Each student is given a letter of the alphabet. Classes with more than 26 students can double up to work on the harder letters of the alphabet (q, u, v, x, y, and z). Students will create a poem featuring words beginning with their letter. Poems can be serious or funny, full of word play or alliteration. Just make sure there are lots of words starting with the assigned letter of the alphabet. Once completed, hold a poetry slam. Students line up in order and perform their poem or tongue twister, one after the other, in one burst of energy. Celebrate by passing around a plate of alphabet cookies!

Activity 7 -- ABC Art Books

Older students may enjoy creating an alphabet book as a literary/art project, then sharing it with a reading buddy from a lower grade.

See Related Sites for links to other online alphabet games and activities.


Visit the Learning Centre to discover other educational resources.