December 21, 2017

Let’s just toss the ABC song

Do you ever wonder why the alphabet is in the order we recognize? There was a practical reason for it. If the alphabet had no standard order, storing items for ease of relocation was difficult. The order means things can be stored and relocated — filing cabinet, dictionary, encyclopedia, library — easily, which is a definite mark in the pro column.

This is, however, where the benefit and usefulness of this order stops. We teach writing and reading we start with letter families, based on the sounds — how frequently they come up in language and in sight words. When we teach keyboarding — an integral part of the skill set needed for our 21st Century learners — learners are exposed to the alphabet in a completely different way. The home row — ASDFGHJKL — is the beginning, followed by keys above and below. This doesn’t match the song.

So, it is time to toss this song — copyrighted in 1835 under the title The ABC Song and sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star or Baa Baa Black Sheep —  for something with a  more useful order of the alphabet. Teaching alphabetical order skills diminished as its daily usefulness decreased — dictionaries, online; filing and storage, online; searches, online; encyclopedias, online; libraries, Dewey Decimal Systems (numeric). Perhaps it is time to consider students can be best served with a rhyming song related to the keyboard order.

To keep it simple, we could use the same melody.

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