Lesson Guide for Alphabetizing

using sorting cards

At some point during the late reading process, perhaps during 3rd grade, begin teaching your child how to arrange words in alphabetical order. This skill is important and used in looking up anything that is listed alphabetically. The lessons refer to files that are on the Sorting Cards web page.


Lesson One - Alphabetizing to the first letter

Choose several of the word cards of the first lesson. Pick short one-syllable words and only one word from each letter of the alphabet. Suggested words from a-z: all, ban, cut, doll, ear, far, gut, hot, jar, lot, map, nun. This is only 12 words. You can choose more or less depending on your student. It may be a good idea to compile two sets of words.

Lay the sorting cards worksheet in front of your child. Show your child the alphabetic going across the top of the sheet. You can tell you child that the letters are in alphabetical order. Tell your child that he is going to put some words in alphabetical order. Take the first pile of word cards and mix them up again. Show your child that he must first find the first card--- which would normally be a card that has a word that starts with an a. In future lessons you should occasionally give your child word card sets that have no cards with an a word.

Your child should place the first card in the first block of the worksheet, then the next one in the next block and so on... How you use and whether you use the worksheet is up to you. The main purpose of the worksheet is: Displaying the alphabet for your child as a reminder and having a place for your child to lay his cards.

Repeat this lesson as many times as needed using different cards that start with a different letter and without skipping letters.


Lesson Two - Alphabetizing to the first letter, skipping letters

When your child shows that he can place words that start with letters that are not skipped, hand him a stack of cards that contain skipped letters. Such a group of cards could be these words from the file a-z: cut, ear, far, hot, jar, lot, map, oats, pop, ran, son, top, up, won.

Repeat this lesson as much as needed.


Lesson Three- Alphabetizing to the second letter

The next level is alphabetizing to the second letter. You should explain how to alphabetize to the second letter as many times as your student needs. Use words such as these words from the file a-f: ant, are, bat, boy, dog, dig, fan, fit, get, go, hi, hut, it, in, joy, June

Repeat this lesson as often as needed. Use the files above or make your own with the blank files.


Lesson Four- Alphabetizing to the third letter

After alphabetizing to the second letter for five or more lessons, then move into alphabetizing to the third letter. Select words from the j-k file (or any of the others). These words from the j-k file can be used for the first lesson: junk, just, jute, jury, join, jolt, job, jump, jungle, judo, juice, king, kite, kilo, kick, knob, knife, knee.

Repeat this lesson as often as needed and repeat the instructions as often as needed.

Meanwhile, mix in lessons about Guide Words.


Lesson Five- Alphabetizing to the fourth letter

When you get to alphabetizing to the 4th letter, select words form the s words file and the j-k file: sail, saint, salt, salve, sand, sane, save, scab, scald, scan, scar, seat, seal, seam, search, second, secret, and from j-k: knob, knot, know, knife, knight, knit

Your child will have to order the words based on the fourth letter. After this lesson, you could have him order words based on the 5th letter. This mastering of alphabetizing is what you are after. Your child needs a firm understanding of how words are ordered in reference books.


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May 13, 2021

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