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Eight is a little young for thinking abstractly through the alphabet for position on words that must be alphabetized out to the third or fourth letter. With my dh, I laminated an alphabet for him to keep at his desk and we did just lists, lists, lists...usually only four words at a time. I didn't push him into guide words in the dictionary until he was consistent with his alphabetizing of lists out to the fourth letter. Then I would have him go out to the fourth letter on each of the guide words, identify those two letters, and lay a penny on each of those letters on his desk alphabet. I'd have him take the word from his list and circle that fourth letter. Then I'd have him lay a penny on that letter in the alphabet...did it come between the first two markers or was it before or after the first and last marker.


Dictionaries are also notorious, even ones that come with children's curriculums, for small print. That's hard on the visual pathways of a child under the age of nine or nine half. So, you might want to make your own guide words and not use a regular dictionary per se...just deviate from the curriculum doing your own lists and guidewords and write with larger print or a font larger than 14 on your computer.



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