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Lesson Plan

ABC Bookmaking Builds Vocabulary in the Content Areas

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ABC Bookmaking Builds Vocabulary in the Content Areas

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Lexington, Kentucky


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students are engaged and motivated to build content area vocabulary through the creation of ABC books. A small-group activity introduces a variety of ABC books, including books for older readers that use the letters of the alphabet as a starting point to present information about a featured subject. Students then decide on a style and structure for their own alphabet books and choose a word for each letter from content area textbooks, encyclopedias, reference books, or suggested websites. A storyboard is constructed including each of the 26 words, the context in which it will appear, and a quick sketch of the proposed illustration. Students' final ABC books are created using either the interactive Alphabet Organizer or PowerPoint.

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Alphabet Organizer: Students can use this tool to easily make ABC books by typing in the words and related notes for each letter of the alphabet. When all letters are completed, they can print their pages, illustrate them, and create their books.

Suggested ABC Book Titles
: Offering students several examples of ABC books shows them some of the myriad forms their own books might take; this list offers a number of possibilities for classroom use.

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Curtis, M.E., & Longo, A.M. (2001). Teaching vocabulary to adolescents to improve comprehension. Reading Online. Retrieved February 8, 2004, from http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=curtis/index.html.

  • Knowledge of word meanings and the ability to access that knowledge efficiently are recognized as important factors in reading and listening comprehension.

  • Virtually every discussion of effective vocabulary instruction emphasizes the importance of providing students with multiple, meaningful encounters with word meanings.

  • Students need opportunities to use a set of isolated words in a variety of contexts and to receive feedback about their success doing so.


Guzzetti, B.J., & Wooten, C.M. (2002). Children creating artists' books: Integrating visual arts and language arts. Reading Online. Retrieved February 8, 2004, from http://www.readingonline.org/newliteracies/lit_index.asp?HREF=guzzetti2/index.html.

  • Teachers at every grade level have discovered that engaging students in bookmaking has the power to motivate even the most reluctant writers.

  • Bookmaking has been credited with helping to increase students' self-esteem, as well as their ability to organize their thoughts and to think critically.

  • Through bookmaking, students learn to express and extend their knowledge of concepts-either abstract concepts, such as friendship, or concrete concepts, such as the food chain.

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