Writing alphabet books about subjects that students are studying can help them organize and synthesize content knowledge. The activity also requires students to use higher-order processes such as analyzing, comparing, visualizing, questioning, determining importance and identifying evidence in text. In addition, the nature of the activity requires students to define and use target academic language in context. This strategy is excellent to use with any student, but can be particularly effective with English language learners.
Content alphabet books can be used for a variety of topics across all subject areas. They make great additions to your classroom library and can be used as reference tools for future or new students.
Before having students create their own content alphabet book, you may wish to introduce similar books such as David Schwartz’s "G is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book," to help students get an idea of the structure and characteristics of alphabet books. Provide students with a template like this one- they can work independently or in groups, depending on language level. Students should choose a term related to the topic of study for each letter of the alphabet (two-word terms could go under either letter- ie, “George Washington” could fall under ‘G’ or ‘W’). For each term, they should draw a picture and write a sentence about each term and why is important in the topic of study. Lower level students can be provided with sentence frames or simply define the term they’ve chosen.
This download contains two versions of the template, one with only upper and lowercase letters (for lower level students) and another version with "A is for ____" (for higher level students). Both versions are in black and white.
This template is designed with ease of assembly in mind, and printing instructions are included. Recommended printing/copying is back-to-back, and then assembly only requires you to fold and staple.