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Lesson Plan

Writing ABC Books to Enhance Reading Comprehension

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Writing ABC Books to Enhance Reading Comprehension

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One: Prior to Student Reading

Session Two: Student Work and Reading

Session Three: Publishing Alphabet Books

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • read and discuss a work of fiction.

  • make personal connections to the text as a means of improving comprehension.

  • explore the use of†literary elements such as characters, vocabulary and themes in a work of fiction.

  • collect examples of literary elements while reading.

  • construct an alphabet book, which demonstrates comprehension of a work of fiction.

  • present their alphabet books to the class.

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Session One: Prior to Student Reading

  1. In a class discussion, ask the students what kinds of things they notice or pay attention to as they read.

  2. List their responses on chart paper or on the board. They should identify elements such as character, setting, dialogue, and so forth. Provide examples and suggestions from the book as necessary to help students build their list.

  3. Explain to the students that they will be looking for these things (characters, vocabulary, literary elements) as they read or listen to the assigned text.

  4. Pass out the Alphabet Book Checklist, showing them what is necessary in their Alphabet Book.

  5. Show the students the Student Planning Sheet, and discuss how they will use it to record a key word or term while they are reading (See example). Then, when the students are using the online Alphabet Organizer, they can transcribe their keyword, and add details or examples at that time.

  6. Using an LCD projector, demonstrate use of the Alphabet Organizer. Students will be using Option 2 in the tool, where they will be able to type in words and related notes for each letter of the alphabet.

  7. Using a book that has previously been read or discussed in class (here, Harry Potter), demonstrate how to create an Alphabet Book.

  8. Ask students to gather details on the book (or books) that they are reading to create their own Alphabet Books. Note: while the teacher demonstration is completed after the text is read by the whole class, it is a good idea to have the students fill out planning sheet as they read so that they are paying attention to details and literary elements throughout their engagement with the text.

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Session Two: Student Work and Reading

  1. Remind students of the goals and elements included in this project. Answer any questions students have.

  2. Encourage students to record the literary elements they encounter on the Student Planning Sheet.

  3. Point students to the Alphabet Book Checklist to remind them what needs to be included in their Alphabet Book.

  4. While students work, encourage them to interact with one another, to share and receive feedback on their plans for alphabet books.

  5. Repeat this session as many times as necessary to allow enough reading and work time for students to complete their reading and notes before Session Three.

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Session Three: Publishing Alphabet Books

  1. When all letters are completed, students can print their letter pages, review the printouts, and make any corrections before exiting.

  2. Give students time to type, proofread, and print their bookmarks. Remind them to print multiple copies if necessary to share with other students and the library.

  3. If students realize an error later, they can always print a new letter page by starting again and filling in only the letter they need. Keep in mind; the tool will print only those letters completed.

  4. If time on the computer is limited and the entire Alphabet Book cannot be completed, students can print out completed letters after each session and turn those in to the teacher.

  5. This project also works well as group work. Groups of students can be assigned certain letters of the alphabet, and their printed letters can all be put together into a book.

  6. When printing, students have two choices. Ask your students to†print out their work using "Letter Pages" or "Charts and Notes." If the†"Letter Pages" option is used, each letter will print out on a separate page. If the "Charts and Notes" option is used, one page will print out with an alphabet chart and the words chosen. A second set of pages will print with the notes recorded for each letter.

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  • Teacher should observe students for their participation during the discussions about the work of fiction, as well as the literary elements.

  • In class discussions and conferences, students should be able to define literary elements such as characters, vocabulary and themes in a work of fiction.

  • Teacher and student should compare the studentís Planning Sheet and Alphabet Book Checklist to the final Alphabet Book to check that all components are present.

  • As students present their alphabet books to the class, the teacher can take notes, using the Alphabet Book Checklist, to verify the alphabet books are complete.

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