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Activities for Practicing Alphabetical Order

You and your child can play games to practice putting words in alphabetical or ABC order. Words are in alphabetical order in the phone book, library, and school directory. Sometimes, words have many similar letters and children have to look at the whole word. If children can recite the alphabet or sing the alphabet song, they can learn to alphabetize words by the first letter in a word. Here are some fun activities to practice at home.

  • Easy as ABC: Help your child arrange things around the house in alphabetical order. For example, let your child alphabetize your spices by putting all the spices that begin with A together followed by the spices that begin with B, and so on. For more practice, let your child alphabetize books, cereal boxes, or canned goods.
  • Alphabet Hunt: In an old magazine or catalog, have your child find a word for each letter of the alphabet. Paste them on a sheet of paper in ABC order.
  • Time for ABC Order: Write words that begin with different letters on separate cards (or a piece of paper cut into strips). Mix up the order and put the words down in front of your child. See how quickly your child can put them in ABC order. Try again to beat the last time!
  • Word Hunt: Take a piece of paper and write a word at the top of the page. Give your child a magazine to cut up. How many words can you find that come after the word at the top of the page? Cut out the words and paste them on the paper.
  • First Things First: In a dictionary, find two words that begin with the same letter, but have only 1 or 2 different letters. Read the words aloud. Ask your child to tell you which word comes first. Use the dictionary to confirm your child’s answer. Take turns with your child.
  • Words in Order: Write words that have most of the same letters (cab, catch, cabin, cart, carry, cape, cap, car, cat, cast) on separate cards (or a piece of paper cut into strips). Mix up the order and put the words down in front of your child. See how quickly your child can put them in ABC order. Try again to beat the last time!
  • Kitchen Organizer: Have your child pull out 10 items from your kitchen cabinet. Now have him or her put the items in ABC order. To make this harder, you can select items that have similar letters in the words. Also, use a timer to add a level of difficulty.

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