Ever wondered why reading therapists love an alphabet arc? I’ll tell you why AND I’ll tell you how to make your own one in less than 5 minutes plus how to use it with early readers! Read on- how to make and use an alphabet arc.
Most children are visual learners. Most children need to involve their sense to learn letters. See how visually attractive this alphabet arc is? And how one can see the whole alphabet at one glance? That is some of the reasons we love using it. A child can SEE and TOUCH the alphabet letters in this alphabet arc and it gets imprinted in the brain with this visual tool.
How to make an Alphabet Arc:
- Use a large cardboard paper and craft foam letters of different colors to make it visually attractive. BUT, if you feel it is too much of a distraction, use two colors only. One for vowels and one for consonants. We used a glitter type for our vowels to distinguish easily between the vowels and the consonants. Why use craft foam letters? It involves the touch sense- students can FEEL the letters. (Also see the activities below for more reasons.)
- Pack the letters in alphabetical order and in an arc shape. The MN is in the middle at the top. Make sure of your arc shape before sticking it down.
- There you have an alphabet arc!
The other reason(s) are the different ways one can use it to consolidate the alphabet letters and their sounds. The next 5 games can be played orally in 10 minutes or less to recap letter knowledge.
- Say the letter names by singing the Alphabet song while moving your finger across the letters. How many letters do we have n the alphabet?Count it!
- Say the sounds of the letters by using your finger to point them out.
- Close your eyes and point to a letter. Feel the letter with closed eyes and guess the letter. This game is great for visualizing letter formation. A therapist/teacher can take the child’s finger and “write” with it so that the child can identify the letter plus feel the correct letter formation.
- Teacher/therapist hides one letter under a ruler, the student guesses which letter is missing- working on alphabetical order.
- Oral phoneme(sound) identification and sound and letter correlation activity- If I say the word “ten”, which sound do you hear first? (student shows letter “t”.) Which sound do you hear last?(student identifies the letter “n”). And in the middle? (student shows letter “e”)
The next 6 activities are hands-on ways to use the letters to work on a variety of literacy skills.
6. Have a set of loose lower case alphabet letters available to match the letters on the arc.
7. Also have a set of upper case letters to match the capital letters.
8. Pick out the vowels- working on identifying vowels vs consonants. Then spell a word using that vowel. Work on vowel knowledge, that a word needs to have a vowel to be a real word.
9. Build words. The teacher can orally dictate a word or word cards can be used(get free CVC word cards HERE). Here one can also work on blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation. What is the first, middle, last letter you hear in the word “hat”? etc. What if we change the word to pat, which letter will change? To what will the letter change?
10. Play the a word challenge game- build as many words as you can, using the vowels and the consonants only once.
11. Word families- build as many words you can using the letters “at” at the end, for instance. “cat”, “mat”, “sat”, “bat”, “rat”, pat”, “fat” etc.
As you can see, one can use an alphabet arc for so many activities to help an early readers to understand and consolidate the basic alphabet sounds and letters. Do you see now why we like our alphabet arc?