A-B-C Searching (K-2)

How can you use the alphabet to find things online?

Students search for pictures online by clicking on letters of the alphabet. They learn that directory sites with alphabetical listings offer one way to find things on the Internet.

After observing a search as a class, students are assigned letters of the alphabet and perform their own searches on a children’s directory site. Using the Our Picture Dictionary Student Handout, students select and print out pictures to create their own picture dictionary for the classroom.

Students will be able to ...

  • learn how to search online by using the alphabet.
  • understand how to search for a specified letter of the alphabet on a children‚Äôs directory site.
  • apply the results of their alphabet search to create a picture dictionary.


Materials and Preparation

  • Copy the Our Picture Dictionary Student Handout, one for each student. (Alternatively, students can use blank paper.)
  • Review the websites Enchanted Learning and Giraffian Picture Dictionary, and choose one to use throughout the lesson.
  • Picture dictionary book
  • Paper
  • Crayons or markers
  • Scissors and paste
  • Optional: Report cover or hole-punch and binder


Teaching Plans


Warm-up (5 minutes)

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term dictionary.

INVITE students to join you in looking at a picture dictionary. Tell them that this kind of dictionary arranges pictures of things by the letters of the alphabet, instead of words and definitions. Pictures of things whose names begin with the letter A are first, followed by pictures of things whose names begin with B, and so on.

ASK: Where would you find a picture of a cat?
Sample responses:

  • Under the letter C

ASK: Where in this book would you find pictures of things whose names begin with Z?
Sample responses:

  • At the very end

EXPLAIN to students that they can also use letters of the alphabet to find things online.


teach 1

Search Using the Alphabet (10 minutes)

CHOOSE one of the following sites to explore as a class. Have students go to the site, or project the site onto a screen for students to view together.

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term search. Explain to students that one way to search for things on the Internet is by using the alphabet.

POINT OUT the alphabet displayed across the top of the page. Tell children that to search for pictures of things whose names begin with that letter, they need to click on the letter.

CLICK on the letter A to find pictures of things whose names begin with that letter. Demonstrate how to scroll down the first A page and go to other A pages. (The Giraffian site has subsequent pages numbered at the bottom, while Enchanted Learning has links to other A pages: Aa-Af, Ag-Al, etc.) Have students identify some things by their pictures and, when possible, by their names.

INVITE the class to choose a picture from the A pages. Click on the name to go to the page for the selected picture. Print a copy of the page.

EXPLAIN to students that the class is going to make its own picture dictionary, and this picture will be on the very first page.


teach 2

Search, Find, and Create a Picture Dictionary (25 minutes)

DEMONSTRATE how to create a dictionary page using the Our Picture Dictionary Student Handout (or on blank paper). At the top of the page, fill in the letter A and the name of the item in your picture. Then cut out and paste the A picture onto the handout.

DISTRIBUTE copies of the Our Picture Dictionary Student Handout, one for each student. Students can work in groups to share computers as they search for and print their pictures, but each student should complete his or her own picture dictionary page.

ASSIGN each student a letter of the alphabet, B through Z. If your class has more than 25 students, you may assign the same letter to two students; if your class has fewer than 25 students, volunteers can make a second dictionary page to complete the alphabet.

INVITE students to visit the website you have chosen from Teach 1, and guide them through the following steps:

  1. Search for pictures by finding your letter and clicking on it. (Have students locate their assigned letters on the site’s home page.)
  2. Choose a picture and click on it. (Once they click on their letters, students will see pictures and names of several things that begin with that letter. Ask students to choose any one of the pictures and click on it to go to the page for that picture.)
  3. Print out your picture. (Help students take turns printing the pictures they have selected. Alternatively, you may have students make drawings of their pictures.)
  4. Write down your letter and the name of the thing in your picture. (Ask students to turn to their Our Picture Dictionary Student Handouts. Have students write their names on their pages. Then have them write their letters and copy the names of the items in their picture at the top of their pages.)
  5. Cut out your picture and paste it onto your handout. (Have students make their pictures smaller so that they will fit on the lower part of their Our Picture Dictionary Student Handouts or on their sheets of paper.)
  6. Decorate your page. (After they paste the picture onto their handouts, students can color and embellish their pages as they like.)

ARRANGE students into three groups according to their letters: A ‚Äď I, J ‚Äď R, and S ‚Äď Z. Have groups work together to put their pages in the correct order.

CREATE a display of the full alphabet on a classroom bulletin board. Help groups to hang their pages in alphabetical order. Have volunteers create a title page that reads ‚ÄúOur Picture Dictionary‚ÄĚ to place at the beginning of the display.

Note: If you wish, later you can gather the pages together to make a book, using a three-ring binder or report cover. Display the picture dictionary along with the other books in your classroom.



Wrap-up (5 minutes)

You can use these questions to assess your students’ understanding of the lesson objectives.

ASK: How did you find pictures of things whose names begin with your letter?
Students should be able to explain that they located the letter of the alphabet and clicked on it to search the site.

ASK: How can you use the alphabet to search for things on the Internet?
Students should understand that looking for things whose names begin with a certain letter is one way to search the Internet.

ASK: Do you think there are other ways to search for things on the Internet?
Volunteers can share what they know about other types of searches, such as keyword searches.

Extension Activity

Ask students what they would do if they wanted to find a picture of a particular animal on the Internet. Explain to students that they can use the alphabet to search for a particular word. If they know what letter the word begins with, they can go to that letter and browse until they find the word they are looking for.

Divide the class into four groups, and assign each group one of the following groups of words.

                 cat                  goat                  panda               tiger
                 dog                 lion                   rabbit               wolf
                 fly                   mouse               seal                  zebra

Have students go to the website you used for previous activities. (All of these words can be found on both Enchanted Learning and Giraffian.) Guide students to click on the appropriate letter and, when necessary, navigate beyond the first page to find the word they are looking for and the corresponding picture. When they find their first word and picture, have them check it off and move quickly to the next animal. When they’re done finding all three, the group raises their hand. The fastest group to find pictures of all three wins a prize.

At-Home Activity

Explain to students that they will be creating picture books of things that begin with the same letter as their name. Have students work at home with a family member to search for pictures of three things beginning with that letter. Instruct them to print out the pictures (or draw them) and use them to create three pages, similar to what they did in class. Ask students to create covers for their picture books that contain their name and their letter, and have a family member staple the pages together. Invite students to take turns sharing their picture books with the class.


Common Core:

  • grade K: RL.1, RL.4, RF.1d, W.2, W.5, W.7, W.8, W.10, SL.1a, SL.1b, SL.2, SL.3, SL.5, SL.6, L.1a, L.6
  • grade 1: RL.1, RL.4, W.5, W.7, W.8, L.1a, L.6
  • grade 2: RL.1, W.2, W.7, W.8, SL.1a, SL.1b, SL.1c, SL.3, SL.6, L.6

NETS‚ÄĘS: 3a, 3b, 5a, 5b, 6a