Alphabet books are a great way to reinforce alphabet knowledge, one important piece of emergent literacy. One of the beautiful things about exposing children to the alphabet through books is that it provides a rich, meaningful, and varied context in which to place these otherwise abstract characters. Learning letters is ultimately about reading, so what better place to learn about letters than in a book? Here are more than a few of my favorite alphabet books, and what I love about them.
Combining the concept of letter form and sound, Now I Eat My Abc’s creates letter forms from foods beginning with the same letter. The photos are bright and appealing and use everything from asparagus to quesadillas to zucchini. It just might get your kids to learn their letters and try new foods!
Winner of a Caldecott Medal, Alphabet City is a wordless book that highlights the form of letters through cityscapes. Readers learn to see the world around them from a different perspective as they realize that every letter, from A to Z can be formed from the everyday components of a bustling city. After this book, you’ll be hard-pressed to keep kids from spotting letters in your own surroundings!
Similarly, I Spy: An Alphabet in Art encourages its readers to see things from a new perspective, but instead of finding the letter’s form, this book challenges readers to find an object in a famous work of art that begins with a corresponding letter of the alphabet. For example, for the letter F, readers can spot the fish pictured in Picasso’s Sitting Woman with a Fish Hat.
Animals In Action A-Z follows a simplistic form that combines letter name and sound with a character name, an animal, and an action, three very salient tags for young children. (/f/ /f/ /f/ Ferguson the fox fishes.) With a unique name herself, Dupe Aleru chose to use some unique names like Nevan, Ulani, Holden, and Caden to breath new life into the animal alphabet. Even my two year-old loved the predictable pattern of this book, chiming in as the letters were repeated on each page. After reading, you can make your own book following the pattern, using the names of the children you love and teach!
I love Dr. Seuss’s ABC , not just because I am an admitted Suessaphile, but because it combines the alphabetic principle along with phonemic awareness as the words roll and play across each page. Who can forget Verna Vera Vinn and her violet violin?
SuperHero ABC is a fairly new ABC book, and my boys are already huge fans. 26 pages cataloguing superheroes and their amazing (and sometimes silly) powers drawn in comic book style that is so bright and action-packed, the illustrations almost seem to jump off the page! Each letter is boldly featured along with dialogue using the letter in a variety of words, showcasing multiple sounds.
Naughty Little Monkeys, Everything to Spend the Night from A-Z, and Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC are three story-based ABC favorites around our house. Each one creates a captivatingstory while using each letter in a variety of ways, exposing their readers to letter form and sound as well as other important early literacy components like rhythm and rhyme and comprehension and meaning. Whether it’s about monkeys in mischief, a sweet little girl’s sleepover with Grandpa, or pirates on the hunt for letters, children love to hear these stories and search for the letters as well!
What are some of your favorite alphabet books?