Personalize the Alphabet for Struggling Readers

We all know that connecting with our kids facilitates learning.  We need to know them, and what makes them tick.  Last year I tried using this to help some of my struggling readers.  We work hard all year on learning letters and sounds, and I tend to use an “anchor” alphabet.  We recite a, /a/ apple, b /b/ bear diligently all year, and most of my students know their letters and sounds by January.  Most.

But what about those that don’t?  The alphabet offers us a great opportunity to connect, and there are practically limitless words to use as reference vocabulary.  It doesn’t have to be A for Apple, does it?  Why not A for Appaloosa, A for Astronaut, or A for Angry Birds?  If we can find things the kids already know and connect with, and better yet, love, they are more likely to engage with the alphabet (which, let’s face it, is not often your struggling readers’ favorite thing to do.)

In my classroom last year it was Mario.  I learned more than I ever wanted to know about Mario and all of the crazy characters in the Mario video games.  I sometimes felt like I was speaking gibberish (and I kind of was!) when I would hear myself saying “/t/ like Tubba Blubba!” or “/g/ just like Goombario!”  But guess what?  As I was learning all about Mario, my little struggling reader was learning all about the letters in the alphabet.

We may not have the time to make an individual alphabet for every kid, but it really is worth it to try it out for the ones who need an extra nudge.

Note:  I also created a Mario alphabet book.  You are welcome to download and use it by clicking on the link.  Just know that I do not have the rights to ANY of the images used in the book.  They were used strictly for educational purposes and were found at various image sites.  This book is NOT for sale, and is not to be sold by anyone else.  All copyright belongs to Nintendo.  Thanks for respecting this!

By request, I am uploading the  Mario alphabet chart  as well.  Again, no sales please!


4 Responses to Personalize the Alphabet for Struggling Readers

  1. Erin September 8, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I can see how appealing this would be for students that I’ve had in the past, and possibly this year as well. I found the link for your book – it is adorable & a great idea! Is your alphabet linking chart available as well?

    • Teaching Ace September 8, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      Thanks so much! I just uploaded the linking chart too. If you refresh on the post, it should be available. Enjoy!

  2. Teacher Sara March 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    I love your Mario abc chart and book! I am also looking for a template so I can create other charts like dinosaur abc, Star Wars abc, and pix of my students abc! Did I miss the link to the template? or do you know where I can find one free or cheap?

    • Karen Langdon March 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

      I did not include a template because I do most of my work on a MAC,and I find that many people don’t use MACs. I am happy to share the pages file with you if you do use a MAC, and then you can easily edit that. Let me know!