Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Teaching Alphabetic Order

Flashcards with Braille and Printed Lesson Sheets on Desk

For some kids, learning sequencing concepts can be a struggle. In this lesson I developed for my 10-year-old daughter who is blind, she practices placing tactile flashcards in alphabetic order while I give her verbal instructions. It also helps her work on fine motor skills and spatial awareness by using the Velcro board for arranging the words, but I help her out with these if she needs it- that way we don't take away from the focus of the activity -- putting words in ABC order!!

The attached files include a set for Second Grade Common Words and a separate file for Third Grade Common Words. Each activity has a complete lesson plan aligned with the Common Core Standards, Data Tracking Sheets and suggested questions, and printable flashcards with sequencing board. The word flashcards include large print and printed braille -- all you need to do is emboss with your brailler or add stickers!

I've included a story about how we approach the activity with Madilyn, along with a few pictures and a video on the Sensory Sun Blog.

Materials: 

Some materials are optional depending on the student's reading medium and fine motor skill level for manipulating flashcards and materials.
  • Word Set Flashcards with Large Print & Braille (included in PDF)
  • Word List Sheet (included in PDF)
  • Perkins Brailler or Labeler, or Braille word stickers, or tactile paint/stickers
  • Adhesive-Backed Velcro or Magnets (optional for keeping cards in place)
  • Laminator or Laminating Sheets (optional for extended use)
  • Data Tracking Sheet (included in PDF)
 

Procedure: 

  1. Begin by getting all necessary materials ready using list above.
    • Print appropriate “Word Set” activity file and assemble as required to meet students needs.
    • Print Data Tracking Sheet or download Excel version for digital data tracking
  1. When you’re ready to begin the lesson activity, start by introducing the concept of “Alphabetical Order” and explain it can also be referred to as “ABC Order”. Ideas for warming up could be:
    • Say the alphabet together from a-z.
    • Discuss sequencing order, giving examples of letters that are before and after other letters, making the distinction that letters don’t have to come directly after or before (i.e. “s” comes after “a” and “c” comes before “j”, and so on).
    • Talk about the sequencing of letters in a word by identifying the first, second, and third letters in a few different words.
  1. Give verbal instructions outlining each step of the activity process from beginning to end, along with print or braille instructions for reference. Breaking down the activity into simple steps will help children who may struggle with executive function skills.
  2. Complete one or two example problems with the student to demonstrate the concept and procedure, asking the student to help you find the answer and complete each step.
  3. Present the student with three or more alphabetical order questions as described in Step 3 above. Track the students answers and take notes regarding areas the student struggles with or excels at completing.
  4. Continue the activity daily until the proficiency goal is met and the concept is considered mastered. Once Word Set 1 is mastered, consider completing Word Sets 2 & 3 as described in the “Extensions” section of this lesson plan.

Variations: 

Use the velcro or magnet board if desired. It’s great for keeping cards in place under wandering fingers or students with fine motor challenges. If you’d rather not use the board, simply have the student arrange the cards in alphabetical order on his/her desk from top to bottom or left to right. Help the student with areas of need such as moving the cards, orienting them correctly to read, etc. so not the student doesn’t become frustrated with those skills to where it interferes with the concept being practiced here- alphabetical order. 
 

If your student enjoys the activity "Teaching Alphabetic Order: Word Set 1", you can find information for downloading subsequent activities for Word Set 2 and Word Set 3 on the Sensory Sun Blog: http://bit.ly/alphablogSS

teaching alphabetic orderteaching alphabetic order
 
 

Collage of alphabetic order

Common Core and Braille Standards

Language: 

L2.2e Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.
L.2.4e Use glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.
L.3.2g Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.
L.3.4d Use glossaries or beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.
Posted on August 30, 2015
Updated on: December 20, 2018