I am writing a small software program to teach non-English-speaking kids English Alphabets from A to Z. Is there any list of simple English words which begin with each letter?

For example Apple for "A", Black or Blue or Blackboard for "B", Zebra for "Z", Snake for "S", etc?

Is there any book for teaching the English alphabet to non-English-speaking kids so I can borrow a list of words for every letter?

I found this list, But some words seem strange and unfamiliar to kindergarten kids. Do you have a better recommendation?

  • A - Apple
  • B - Ball
  • C - Cat
  • D - Dog
  • E - Egg
  • F - Fan
  • G - Goat
  • H - Hand
  • I - Indian
  • J - Jam
  • K - King
  • L - Lamp
  • M - Man
  • N - Nurse
  • O - Owl
  • P - Pizza
  • Q - Queen
  • R - Rail
  • S - Sun
  • T - Tiger
  • U - Umbrella
  • V - Vase
  • W - Woman
  • X - Box
  • Y - Yard
  • Z - Zoo
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    There's the old one that goes...A for 'orses, B's for 'oney, and so on (I can't remember much of the rest, sadly; can anyone help?) but that probably isn't quite what you had in mind... – Brian Hooper Dec 18 '10 at 10:30
  • Which words would you like to replace most? The vast majority seems perfectly okay to me. The strangest on the list is probably "fan" (I would go with "fire" or "foot"), and perhaps "rail" (too many meanings, I'd take "rain"), but the rest actually looks fine for an ESL children's book. Also, as far as your suggestions go, I would actually prefer "ball" over "blackboard" (too long) and "blue" (too abstract + possible color-blindness issues). "Snake" is not bad, but "sun" is more familiar to everyone (and again, shorter). – RegDwigнt Dec 18 '10 at 11:49
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    If at all this is a question for this website, it ought to be community wiki, I think. – ShreevatsaR Dec 18 '10 at 11:50
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    Also, "I for Indian" is a bit… whichever meaning of "Indian" you mean. :p – ShreevatsaR Dec 18 '10 at 11:50
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    After thinking about it for a while, I still don't know whether the question should be CW, but I am fairly certain that the best answer would be a community-edited one, listing 2–3 words per letter. – RegDwigнt Dec 18 '10 at 13:01

This is a community-edited answer that anyone with more than 100 reps can improve. The sublist for each letter is sorted alphabetically, with the word used by the NATO Phonetic Alphabet for that letter set in bold. Judge for yourself which word best suits your purposes.

  • X is for Box? Try X is for X-ray or X is for Xylophone instead. Also not keen on I is for Indian. How about I is for Ice Cream? Y is for Yacht, Yak or Yo-yo? And as it's nearly Christmas, R is for Reindeer or Robin! – chimp Dec 18 '10 at 12:21
  • I was thinking about ice cream myself (it even had to do with the question at hand), but I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be a perfect fit as it is two words. – RegDwigнt Dec 18 '10 at 12:35
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    I would suggest that any additions adhere to the following rules: 1) a noun, 2) as common as possible, 3) not abstract, can be easily pictured, 4) as short as possible (I think even mountain is too long, let alone xylophone). To sum it up: think of the children! – RegDwigнt Dec 18 '10 at 15:47
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    Added two I remember from my childhood. :p I seem to recall that every alphabet book had "xylophone"; we seemed to manage… and inferred that words from X were rare, if they had to use such a long word. :-) – ShreevatsaR Dec 18 '10 at 16:19
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    @ShreevatsaR: same here! The only other true x-words would probably be more obscure to kids: xenophobia, xenon, and some organic chemical compounds. While the words should be ideally short, it's also nice to have the occasional big word that is fun for the kids to pronounce. I think I recall our class being excited when we got to x for xylophone! My y-word was also yacht. This list is as good as it gets. But "I" for Indian?! That's kinda horrible. Ink is a nice alternative... – Jimi Oke Dec 18 '10 at 16:27

The NATO phonetic alphabet was designed for universal understanding and differentiation of letters. While maybe not the ideal pedagogical tool, it is near universal and very often partially known (especially the first few letters).

  • Plus its an excellent conversation piece, but I'm not adding that as an argument. – MPelletier Nov 25 '11 at 19:48

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