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The Alphabet (Grade 3)

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The Alphabet

A, B, C, D, E, F... you know the 26 letters of the alphabet, but do you know where the alphabet came from?

The alphabet was actually created over time. It all started with the first forms of man. They used to write by carving pictures or symbols into rocks, shells, and cave walls. Their pictures typically told other people where to find animals. They also pointed out dangers in an area. As people gained more skills, their writing changed. Soon some groups of people were using symbols called hieroglyphs. They would put the hieroglyphs together to make sentences.

Seven hundred years after hieroglyphs came about, a group of people called the Phoenicians came up with the first real alphabet. It had 22 letters. They were all consonants. Around 750 B.C., the Greeks added vowels to the alphabet. However, it still wasn't the alphabet we use today.

The Romans took the Greek alphabet and changed it around a little. This made it look a little more like our current alphabet. However, their alphabet did not have the letters J, U, V, and W. A version of the Latin alphabet gained popularity in Britain in the 7th century A.D.

When the Normans invaded England, the alphabet changed again. It included all of the letters we find in today's alphabet, except J. U and V were also considered the same letter. The alphabet kept changing until 1604. That's when Robert Cawdrey published the first English dictionary. In his dictionary, the alphabet had all 26 letters and became the alphabet we still use today.
How long did it take to create the alphabet we use today?
  1. 50 years
  2. 100 years
  3. 1000 years
  4. A long time
What are hieroglyphs?
  1. The earliest letters of the alphabet
  2. Letters removed from the alphabet
  3. Symbols used to represent words
  4. Pictures artists drew on cave walls
What was the biggest difference between the alphabet we use today and the alphabet the Greek used?
  1. The Greek alphabet didn't have vowels.
  2. The Greek alphabet didn't have the letter V.
  3. The Greek alphabet didn't have consonants.
  4. The Greek alphabet didn't have the letter X.
Which alphabet was the first to have all 26 letters that we use today?
  1. The Phoenician alphabet
  2. The Greek alphabet
  3. The Latin alphabet
  4. Robert Cawdrey's alphabet
Which choice best summarizes the main topic of this passage?
  1. Alphabets around the world
  2. The history of the alphabet
  3. The modern alphabet
  4. Learning the alphabet
Which choice best summarizes the passage?
  1. There have been many different alphabets over time, but the one we use today is the best.
  2. The alphabet we use today has changed many times throughout history.
  3. Different cultures used different alphabets to fit their needs at the time.
  4. A symbol-based alphabet made a lot of sense for the early humans, but not for us.

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