Alphabet Adventure Storia Teaching Guide
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Where do letters live during the summer? Why, on Alphabet Island, of course—according to Audrey and Bruce Wood’s imaginative story. One particular alphabet of little letters, known as Charley’s Alphabet, is ready to leave the island to help a child learn his ABCs. But while crossing a bridge, Little i falls into the water and loses its dot. The alphabet’s teacher, Capital T, musters everyone together to find the dot. They travel through the canals of the island, visit a party of capital letters, and—finally—try to find a substitute for the missing dot.
Just when Little i decides to wear a cherry on top of its head, a teeny-tiny, weeny-whiny voice cries out and the dot jumps up on its proper spot. It wasn’t lost at all, just playing hide-and-seek, as sharp-eyed readers may already know—having seen it hidden in the illustrations.
Just in time, the alphabet hops on a pencil to fly to school and finds a boy staring at a blank piece of paper. It’s Charley—and his name is the very first word the alphabet makes.
Teaching the Book
The lowercase letters of the alphabet are getting ready to go to school when disaster strikes—Little i loses her dot and no one can find it! Young readers join the adventure as the letters dance and run and fly across the pages of this electrifyingly colorful picture book. The book’s plot provides an opportunity to teach problem and solution and its adventurous verbs will expand students’ vocabulary. Activities engage students in writing an alphabet eBook, creating a music video, and experimenting with alphabetical and other kinds of orders.
Theme Focus: ABCs
Comprehension Focus: Problem & Solution
Language Focus: Vivid Verbs
Get Ready to Read
Get students “tuned up” for Alphabet Adventure by singing the ABC song together. There are several fun video versions of the song on YouTube. View them here and here. Have students watch the videos first to hear how the song is sung; then have them join in during a second viewing. If the class views both videos, take the time for students to compare the two versions of the song, say which video they like better, and give reasons for their opinion.
Preview and Predict
Project the cover of the book on a whiteboard or screen or have students view their own copies. Ask students what they think about the characters on the cover and describe them. What is the setting of the story? Have students predict what kind of adventure the alphabet letters will take part in, using clues and evidence from the cover illustration.
Introduce students to these lively verbs that are found in Alphabet Adventure. Explain that a verb is an action word, but some verbs are stronger and more powerful than others. A vivid verb is an action word that puts a picture in the mind of a reader.
Use Resource #1: Vocabulary Cards and distribute copies to students. Ask them to use text clues and picture clues to figure the meaning of the words as they read.
Have students cut apart their vocabulary words. Then read aloud the following context sentences and have students hold up the missing word to retell the story.
- But as they were marching over a bridge, the Little i ____ on a bump. (tripped)
- “Help,” she cried, ______ into the water below. (tumbling)
- Working together, the letters quickly made a chain and _______ Little i (rescued)
- “Try again!” Capital T ___________. “And this time call out your names!” (exclaimed)
- They traveled through the canals of the island, _______ for the dot. (searching)
- All of the letters, except Little i, _______ down the streets of Alphabet Island. (raced)
- Now that they were a complete alphabet again, all of the letters _______ to get to school on time. (hurried)
- The little letters were so happy, they _______ for joy . . . and made their very first word. (jumped)
For reinforcement, have students use the words about their own lives.
As You Read
Reading the Book
Unlike most alphabet books, this one has a robust story line and sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure. For a first reading, project the pages onto a whiteboard or screen as you do a fluent and expressive reading of the text. This familiarizes students with the story while they also have time to study the contribution of the illustrations to the plot line.
Reread the book, this time encouraging students to read along with you in their own copies of the book. Pause at important points in the story for students to find Little i and search the illustrations for its hide-and-seek dot.
Big Question: Critical Thinking
Ask students to think about this question as they read. Write the question on chart paper or the whiteboard. Why is the alphabet called “Charley’s Alphabet?”
Identify Problem and Solution
The plot of Alphabet Adventure develops as Little i trips on the bridge and falls into the water, losing its dot. This problem affects every member of the lower-case alphabet because they cannot go to school until Little i finds her dot and they look proper again. Explain to students that stories are often made up of problems and solutions. Often, it takes a few tries to find a solution that works.
Use the graphic organizer on Resource #2: Identify Problem and Solution to model for students how to identify problems and solutions in the story.
Model: Little i has a problem. What is it? Right, she has lost her dot! I’ll write that in the top box where it says “Problem.” Next, I’m going to think about how the alphabet tries to solve the problem. I remember that first the alphabet hops on a boat and searches the canals of the island for the dot. But they don’t find it. I’ll write that in the box called “First Try.” Have students fill in the rest of the boxes on the organizer, including the final solution.
After You Read
Questions to Discuss
Lead students in a discussion of these focus story elements.
Look at the illustration on the last page of the book. What word has the alphabet spelled? What letters are left standing in front of the word? Spell your first name, using an alphabet of letters. What letters are left standing? (Sample answers: Charley; all the letters not in the name; answers will vary.)
2. Problem and Solution
What were the little letters able to do after Little i found her dot? (Sample answer: Since they were all proper, they were able to board a pencil and fly to school to help Charley learn his alphabet.)
3. Vivid Verbs
Describe a time when you searched for something that was lost. Where did you search? How did you find it? (Answers will vary.)
Questions to Share
Encourage students to share their responses with a partner or small group.
What is your favorite letter of the alphabet? Why is it your favorite?
Where have you noticed letters of the alphabet that are designed in different ways? Compare how the letters of two books are different. Compare how the letters of store names or products are different.
How does Alphabet Adventure compare with other alphabet books you have read. Did you like this book better? Why or why not?
Content Area Connections
Challenge students to put themselves in a row by alphabetical order of their first names. Then ask them what other kinds of order they could stand in. Encourage them to come up with options such as age order based on birthdays and size order based on height.
Demonstrate for students how to access the different fonts on their classroom computers. Then encourage them to choose five different fonts to type their names in. Have them compare the fonts and decide which alphabet best reflects their name and personality.
A is for Anchor
A fun illustration in the book is the line-up of the alphabet letters with objects that start with each of their letters. Play a round robin game and have students identify the object for each letter. The first student will begin with, “a is for anchor” and then each will take a turn. To make the game more challenging, ask students to add an object of their own; for example, “a is for anchor and a is for ant.
An ABCs Video
Challenge students to create their own ABCs video after watching the examples on YouTube. Talk together about how the letters might appear on the video. Do they want to draw the letters and add an object that starts with each letter? Do they want to star in the video themselves by carrying a letter across the screen? What will the soundtrack be—the ABC Song or something else? Encourage students to keep their ideas simple as they produce the video to show the rest of the class or their parents.
Write an Alphabet Book
Assign students to write an alphabet book either on their own or with a partner. Give them the option of writing a conventional alphabet book with each letter accompanied by a picture of something that begins with that letter. Or encourage them to let their imaginations create a book like Alphabet Adventure. Provide students with the option of creating the book on the computer, using images from free online sources.
Don't Forget the Big Question
Give each student a turn to answer the big question. Encourage students to provide evidence from the story to support their answers. Why is the alphabet called “Charley’s Alphabet?”
The illustrator cleverly hid the Little i dot in the illustrations that show the letters searching for the dot. Challenge students to find the dot in one of the pictures and then write a coded message about where it is. Distribute copies of Big Activity: Hidden Message, have students trade papers with a partner and decode the hidden message.
To assess and enhance students’ comprehension, this Storia eBook contains a Reading Challenge Quiz, as well as the following enrichments:
- Picture Starter
- Scratch & See
- Multiple Choice With Text
- Word Match
- Touch the Page
- Jigsaw Puzzle
About the Author
Audrey Wood is the author of more than 30 books for children, including the award-winning The Napping House, Piggies, and Heckedy Peg. In addition to Alphabet Adventure, she has written Alphabet Mystery and Alphabet Rescue.
Here is the author’s description of her aspirations as a children’s book author—in her own words: “When I was in the first grade, I wanted to grow up to be an artist like my father. Then, in the fourth grade, I decided I’d like to be a children’s book author. As an adult who writes and illustrates children’s books, I have realized both my childhood ambitions. Writing and illustrating picture books is a demanding art, but it is also rewarding, because every project carries its own unique sense of wonder and excitement into my daily life.”
Audrey Wood now lives in Hawaii. To learn more about the author and her books, visit www.audreywood.com.
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