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Free ABC Chart: How to Use an Alphabet Poster

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This free alphabet chart features letters A-Z with capital and lowercase letters, bright matching pictures, and important keywords. Learn how to use an alphabet poster to make learning letters and sounds fun and effective!

Large ABC chart with letters A-Z, pictures, and keywords on chalkboard background.

🔤 What is an Alphabet Chart?

An ABC chart, or alphabet anchor chart, is a visual support with all letters included. It is specifically designed to help children learn letter recognition and letter sounds.

There are 3 important elements included on any useful alphabet chart: letters, pictures, and keywords.

Letters

Capital and lowercase letters are included to help children master both. Research shows that most children generally know more capital letters due to environmental print and familiarity with names. And “when children know the uppercase letter, they are sixteen times more likely to know the corresponding lowercase letter (Jones, et. al., 2012, p. 3). This is why we teach them both together!

On this chart, consonants are written in black font, and vowels are written in red font to help kids differentiate.

Only the most frequent letter sounds are included, so you’ll notice short vowel sounds and hard consonant sounds only.

🛑Look out and beware! Some resources might say like “G is for Giraffe” or “X is for Xylophone” or
“C is for City” or “S is for Ship.” Steer clear of these kinds of resources because they don’t represent the pure sounds of the letter! Kids need to become firm and master the most basic letter sounds before being introduced to higher-level phonics concepts (like soft sounds).

Pictures

A bright picture should be displayed to correspond with each letter set. It’s used as an anchor in their memory and helps kids to hear the sounds the letters represent at the beginning of each word.

This is an important building block for improving phonological awareness!

Blue background and clipboard with free ABC chart on it with a child's hand pointing to the letters.

Keywords

Keywords are included for an important reason. Even when students haven’t yet learned to read, the pictures help them to understand the connection between written text and meaning, making an important speech-to-print connection.

When a child sees a picture of a ring and sees the word ‘ring’ written beneath it, they begin to understand that written words are made up of individual letters. Together, the letters form a word and convey meaning

For example: 💍= r + i + ng = ring

We’ve intentionally chosen keywords with the letter sound at the beginning of the word (except for letter x), helping kids to hear and practice beginning letter sounds.

🧑‍🏫 How to Use an Alphabet Chart

Parents and teachers can use this chart to explicitly teach letters and letter sounds together. The basic procedure should be to point to each letter on the chart and repeat this sequence:

  1. Say the letter
  2. Say the keyword
  3. Say the sound

For example: a – apple- /ă/

Teachers and parents should model this often until children can do it independently.

The letters, keywords, and sounds for an alphabet chart are:

  • A a – Apple – /ă/
  • B b – Bat – /b/
  • C c – Cat – /k/
  • D d – Dog – /d/
  • E e – Egg – /ĕ/
  • F f – Fish – /f/
  • G g – Gum – /g/
  • H h – Hat – /h/
  • I i – Igloo – /ĭ/
  • J j – Jam – /j/
  • K k – Kite – /k/
  • L l – Leaf – /l/
  • M m – Mouse – /m/
  • N n – Nest – /n/
  • O o – Octopus – /ŏ/
  • P p – Pig – /p/
  • *Qu qu – Queen – /kw/
  • R r – Ring – /r/
  • S s – Sun – /s/
  • T t – Tooth – /t/
  • U u – Umbrella – /u/
  • V v – Volcano – /v/
  • W w – Watermelon – /w/
  • *X x – Fox – /ks/
  • Y y – Yo-Yo – /y/
  • Z z – Zebra – /z/

👉 Letter Q
Teach QU together! We do this because the rule is: Never a Q, without a U. This is helpful for beginners as they learn to read and spell.

👉 Letter X
All letters match the beginning sound of the pictures and words except letter X, which is represented by two phonemes /k/ + /s/. This sound will never be used at the beginning of words. As such, the /ks/ sound is heard at the end of the keyword fox.

Teaching Ideas

“Make certain that the child is secure in his knowledge of the letters of the alphabet. The alphabet is the cornerstone for all reading and spelling.”

”The International Dyslexia Association Handbook (2019) p. 7

Use this ABC Chart along with these connected resources which were intentionally created to be used together. They include the same pictures and keywords for consistency.

  • Printable phonetic flashcards – These flashcards are perfect for introducing new letters. Keep a deck of known concepts for review, and add the new letter cards to the deck once they’ve been explicitly taught! They’re also great to send home as a resource for parents!
  • Short Vowel Sounds Anchor Chart – Grab this other awesome anchor chart which focuses just on vowels. Print the ‘short vowels’ poster and display near the alphabet chart.

Alphabet Arcs – This phenomenal alphabet arc resource can be paired with the ABC chart to further build alphabet knowledge.

Blue background showing ABC resources, including short vowel poster and flashcards and alphabet arcs.
Click on the links above to visit our other posts above and get your free alphabet resources!

We hope you download all the freebies to utilize with your students.

Can you use a Sound Wall and Alphabet Chart?

If you’re wondering if you can use a sound wall AND alphabet chart together, the answer is…YES!

An alphabet chart is used for teaching letter recognition and letter sounds, while a sound wall is used to teach the sounds (phonemes) and the various ways to spell those sounds (graphemes). You can certainly connect the two when teaching new letters!

Hang the ABC poster near the sound wall, but it should not appear on the actual consonant wall or vowel valley. Both can be used as scaffolds for kids in the same classroom. Students with learning disabilities or EL students still working to master basic letter sounds and alphabet knowledge will use the ABC chart. Advanced students learning the 5 ways to spell the Long I sound will utilize the sound wall.

To read more about sound walls, and to get four FREE options, visit our post All About Using Sound Walls in the Classroom.

Conclusion

Every child needs a visual ABC chart, whether in a classroom or at home. Having a chart as an anchor is a helpful tool for young learners as they practice and master letters and letter sounds.

This chart can be printed as big or as small as you’d like! You can enlarge it to hang on a wall or make it small enough to glue to a child’s notebook. Better yet, do both!

Be sure the chart is within clear view so that children can reference the alphabet often and have it handy whenever they need it.

Recommended Resources

References:

Jones, C., Clark, S., & Reutzel, D.R. (2012). Enhancing alphabet knowledge instruction: research implications and practical strategies for early childhood educators. Springer Science+Business Media.

International Dyslexia Association. (2019). IDA dyslexia handbook: what every family should know. Baltimore.

Large ABC chart with letters A-Z, pictures, and keywords on chalkboard background.

🖨️Download & Print

We’d love to hear about your experience using this resource!
Please leave a comment below or tag us on Instagram @literacylearn!

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ABC Chart Printable 4.00 KB 4761 downloads

This free printable ABC chart with capital and lowercase letters A-Z and bright pictures...

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