Alphabetical order

Home learning focus

To be able to place items in alphabetical order using the first three letters of a word.

This lesson includes:

  • an introduction alphabetical order

  • three activities to do at home


There are 26 letters in the alphabet. They are:

  • A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z.

We often sort letters and words in alphabetical order. This means to order them as they appear in the alphabet.

When sorting words in to alphabetical order, we look at the first letter of the word.

For example:

  • the word cat comes before the word dog because c comes before d in the alphabet.

If two words begin with the same first letter, we then look at the second letter to decide on the alphabetical order.

For example:

  • the word cat comes before the word country because a comes before o in the alphabet.

If a word has the same first two letters, we look at the third letter.

Watch this short video to find out more.

Learn about alphabetical order with Marty.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1: Helping Marty order boxes

Click on the box below to help Marty put the words into the correct alphabetical order.

Activity 2: Ordering words

Take a look at the different lists of words below and re-write them, placing them in alphabetical order.

  • badger, bear, bobcat, bluebird, buffalo
  • pear, plumb, pineapple, pumpkin, papaya, pomegranate
  • Sunday, Tuesday, Saturday, Monday, Thursday, Wednesday
  • January, April, March, August, June, September

Activity 3: Advanced alphabetical order

Similarly to activity 2, re-write the following words and place them in alphabetical order.

Remember, when the first two letters are the same we look at the third letter to order alphabetically.

  • Andrew, Alice, Alexa, Ayesha, Addison, Ayden
  • sauce, talk, hazard, target, sale, handle
  • jacket, noble, java, fault, newspaper, faith
  • heptagon, crescent, hexagon, cross, heart, cylinder

Where next?

In this lesson you have correctly put words into alphabetical order, including words that start with the same two letters.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you.

There's more to learn

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