How to Teach ABC Order: Free Printable Worksheets

April 29, 2022

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Shelton

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Teaching your kids how to alphabetize words is an important skill to include in your homeschool. Find out why you should be introducing ABC order in your homeschool lessons. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to download our free ABC Order Worksheets Pack. 

How to Teach ABC Order: Free Printable Worksheets with photo of abc blocks.

Alphabetical Order

If your kids have never been in a classroom, they may not be familiar with alphabetical order and seating charts. Seating in school was done in alphabetical order by last name.

My last name ended in S so I always knew I would be sitting next to someone that had the letter R, S or T for their last name. Since my last name was further down the alphabetical list I knew I wasn’t the first one that would be called on for roll call either.

Alphabetizing last names is a great example of ABC order.

How to Teach ABC Order

Are you wondering how to teach alphabetizing or ABC order in your homeschool? Read on to learn the best ways to tackle this topic with your kids. 

Why do we teach ABC order?

Alphabetizing words is a good life skill to teach your children. Growing up, ABC order was normally taught by finding words and definitions in a dictionary, or looking up business names in a phone book.

Alphabetical order is also very useful when you are doing research. You may need to look up information in the index of a large book for research purposes. If you know where to turn in the index, it won’t take a long time to find the information that you need.

In today’s technological age you may not need to use a real dictionary, but knowing proper alphabet sequence still comes in handy.

We use alphabet order when we look up names in our cell phone and when searching for books at a library. You may want to put a list of names into your address book. A great way to do this it to sort them by last name.

How does ABC order work?

ABC order alphabetizes names and individual words by comparing the order of letters in the alphabet sequence.

If the first letter of each word are the same, then you move on to find a different letter to put in order. You will then go to the second letter, if those are the same, move to the third letter, fourth letter and so on.

The ultimate goal is to be able to take any set of words and be able to quickly alphabetize them.

How do you explain alphabetical order to a child?

  • Tell your kids that alphabetical order is a way to sort and organize a word list and put them into the correct abc order positions.
  • Teach kids how to alphabetize words using only the first letter of the word and put the list of items in order from A-Z.
  • Make sure that they have their entire alphabet memorized first and know the correct letters. Learning the alphabet song can be a huge help for this. 

Alphabetical order rules

  • Always alphabetize names by the first letter of the last name. 
  • Names are always filed by last name, first name and then middle initial.
  • Abbreviated titles like Mr. Mrs. and Dr. should not be used when alphabetizing.

Activities to teach alphabetical order

  • Give your kids a list of words to put in alphabetical order. Help students learn and practice how to alphabetize with spelling list words, sight words, or random words.
  • Have them practice putting each word in A to Z alphabetical order until the entire list is sorted. 
  • Use an alphabet chart to point out the letters of the alphabet if your kids need help seeing what letters come next.
  • Play an ABC order game with word cards. If you have sight word flash cards your children can sort those. Grab the first word card that starts with the letter A. Have your kids start laying them out on the floor and stacking them in word positions from A to Z. 
  • Show them the first letters of similar words like cat and car. See how the letters C are the same? Let’s move on to the 2nd letter. A is also the same! Now, let’s move on to the 3rd letter of each word and see if we can sort that. R comes before S, so car would be on the list first, followed by cat.
  • Have them practice ordering last names. Give them the last names of some of their friends and have them put them in order. This is helpful when they see the capital letter of the last name, then start sorting the lowercase letters one letter at a time.
  • Use magnetic letters to practice alphabetizing

magnetic letters set with dry erase board

Free ABC Order Worksheets PDF Download

Download our pdf of alphabetical order worksheets to practice ABC order in your homeschool today! 

Free printable ABC Order Pack

In Conclusion

It’s not difficult to teach ABC order to students when you get creative. You can use word lists, student names, or even letter blocks to practice alphabetizing. You can introduce new words and ask students to alphabetize the third letter of each word. Practicing order placement can be done on paper, on a chalkboard, or by using task cards. You could even mix up words in random order and guide them as they put the words in ABC order.

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