Monday, April 30, 2012

ADHD and ABC Order! Tips and Tricks to help!

My nine year old 3rd grade son has been struggling with ABC order for as long as I can remember. Each time he has his list in front of him he has to go through the entire alphabet out load to figure out which first letter he is looking ofr next. It is excrusiating as a parent and teacher to watch. I have come up with a few ideas that have helped him tremendously. As an added benefit his spelling grade has gone up, I believe as a result to his being able to manipulate the words instead of only writing them.

Here is my plan of attack:

1. I start by writing each word on a lined sheet of paper (this eliminates the other distractions on the workbook pages.)
2. I then give my son 4 small post it notes and have him place them under each word that starts the same. He can then concentrate on only those words. I have him cross out the first letter then look for the next letter and so on. If you were looking to order the words anywhere, anytime and anyhow you would place the post it under each, cross out the "any" and look at the fourth letter to decide which word came first.

I use this next activity as a prep for an ABC order quiz and as a starting point for spelling lists with more than 4 words with the same beginning letter.

 1. I write all 30 words on a seperate small post it note and attach randomly to a blank sheet of paper.
 2. I then divide 2 pieces of notebook paper sitting side by side into 4 columns.
3. I instruct my son to find all of the letter "a" words and place them in the first row. ( I also label each row from beginning sound to #4)
After he has all of the letter "a" words we then examine them to see if any have the same second letter. In this case we are dealing with i,l and n. Since i and l appear only once both move to colunm 2. Since there are three words with n second we look to the third letter and they are all y. We move all three of these words to column 3 since we are examining the third letter.

We determine that the colunm 2 words must be first and second in order since we are only going to the 2nd letter.

We still have to figure out what letter we are going to use to determine the order of these three words. Looks like the 4th letter will help us out.

From the third row we can decifer that the fourth letter will determine the ABC order for these three words. We label them with numbers and copy them to our homework sheet.

Continue this same routine until all of your words are in order. At first learning how to do this was a struggle and took some practice however it was well worth the time. My son not only cut his homework time in half using this system but also has improved his spelling grades. I hope you find the same success with this approach to ABC order and spelling!
Till next Time,


  1. I'm no where near perfect. Please do a spell check on your work. Planet earth...Please check your spelling.....Teachers...use spell check..

  2. I have Attention Different(out of order) Disorder, So, I appreciate all of your help but, I notice a lot of spelling errors in your web page. My aunt is also a teacher (and a good one at that). And for some reason or another neglects to do spell checks on her emails. I am no where near perfect although, I am striving for perfection. Bottom line, can someone tell me why having ADD is shund in our society yet the internet has so many mistakes in spelling as well as grammar. I find it to be incredibly unprofessional to represent one's self on the internet without doing a spell check. Planet earth....please do a spell check on your work.