Ways of Teaching the Alphabet with ABC Flashcards
With 48 young students in a big class, I was thinking are there any activities which involve all the students while teaching them the alphabet. All I have to use are basically flashcards and the ABC book. Teaching the alphabet with ABC flashcards is the perfect way to teach your ESL young learners the ABC.
There are so many ways to use ABC flashcards in your English classes. And I’ll just list some here.
a) Use the flashcard to help students learn the letters.
The teacher could show the ABC flashcards directly to students and ask them what the letter is. But who wants to learn the alphabet this way. It’s so boring! Instead, you may use your ABC flashcards to facilitate the learning of English in some of the ways shown below:
Let your young learner students stand in a line at the front of the class and each one hold a flashcard. Then, invite a student to say one letter from the ABC flashcards shown. The student at the front with that particular letter needs to squat down and stand up as quickly as he can. And you can add difficulty to make the game more challenging by calling two or three letters at the same time, so that two or three kids with the letters should squat and stand up.
This is a fun way for young ESL students to learn the alphabet and students all highly participate in this activity using ABC flashcards. They want to come to the front or try to shout out numbers. Give this activity a try in your classroom, you’ll find how crazy the kids will be.
b) Use the alphabet flashcards to help students get familiar with the sequence of 26 letters.
It’s obvious that most kids can sing the ABC song. But that doesn’t mean they are familiar with the sequence of the 26 letters. If you ask the kids what comes after the letter behind J, they will probably have to start from A to work it out. Thus, it’s important for English teachers to help students get more familiar with the ABC sequence.
I tried this method in one of my class. First, hand out the ABC flashcards to some students. But don’t let them peek. And after the teacher says ‘One, Two, Three, Go.’ those students may take a quick look at their flashcards and run to the front to queue up in sequence. For example, the first one should be the student with flashcard A and then followed by the student with flashcard B…. The faster the student responds, the better he / she understands the sequence of the alphabet. You will be able to visually identify which students are having trouble with the sequence of the alphabet.
c) Use the flash cards to help students review the ABC’s.
The teacher can ask students to pick the flash cards randomly then answer what the letter is. It can be used in the group competition or personal ‘ask and answer’ to examine whether students have fully known the letter, or need to start singing ABCD from the start to work what letter it is out.
And so many ABC songs are available on the Internet. Among them, I recommend KidsTV’s It’s the Alphabet song, not only because it’s in a slow pace which kids can easily follow, but also there are a lot of balloons falling down and each balloon is attached a letter, which kids couldn’t wait to shout out the letter on the balloon once they see.
In addition, another good resource for learning the ABC’s is the ABC book (I call it this way though I know it’s not a cool name). I’ve been fascinated with Dr. Seuss’s ABC. But I found the vocabulary in that book is too difficult for the kids in China. So I decided to make my own ABC book for my kids. I tried my best to use the common words so that they can easily remember and chant it all the time. Here’s the book. Take a look and I hope you find it amazingly effective in your classroom too.
You know, it made me feel so good when seeing all my ESL kids showed so much enthusiasm in the learning process. Even the naughtiest kid in my class raised his hands several times in this period when using ABC flashcards to learn English. Maybe they’re just interested in various games but it was still good to see them participate and actually learn something from it. The form doesn’t matter anymore. What matters most is they are learning in the process even without realizing. And I was also very happy, thinking finally I’ve elicited their desire for learning. Keep up! Gonna do better next time.