The One Common Classroom Mistake Hiding in Plain Sight

By John Mayo-Smith

Recent surveys show more than ninety percent of U.S. classrooms utilize some form of computer technology but there’s one non-digital K-3 teaching aid that remains ubiquitous: the alphabet picture chart.

Alphabet picture charts (and cards) are very important because they help teach the sounds of the alphabet and, in turn, how to read and spell words made out of these sounds. In her teacher training course at the Windward School, Phyllis Bertin points out how rare it is when twenty six correct alphabet pictures appear in one place (the Metropolitan Museum of Art alphabet book is a noteworthy exception).

So while alphabet pictures can be beautiful to look at, look closer, because many charts contain hidden traps and flaws. These traps, could make it difficult for young children (especially english language learners and children with dyslexia) to learn the sounds of the alphabet.

Can you spot the the five mistakes in the alphabet picture chart below?


Flawed Alphabet Chart

Can you spot the flaws in this Alphabet Chart?


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