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 Learn the 50 States in Alphabetical Order Study tips

50 States List Learning methods

Learning the 50 US states is a challenge most American kids have to face. It is a daunting  but rewarding task so the obvious thing is to look for an easy way. There are many resources available:

  • Rote learning

  • Word-association techniques

  • States mnemonics

  • Census-Bureau Regions Chunking

  • States song lyrics

  • States videos

  • Verse poems

  • States games

Which one is best?

We all differ, so some of us learn best by seeing and doing, and others from reading and repeating. It is worth trying out a few different methods to find what works for you.

Learning States by rote

Simple repetition or learning by rote is the old fashioned, hair-shirt approach favored in the past by schoolteachers steeped in a belief that suffering was good for the soul. There is no doubt that it works, and probably has a longer-lasting effect than more trendy methods. However, will today’s spoilt-for-choice-kids take to that idea if there is an alternative?

States Word-association technique

The states word-association technique involves having a numerical list linked to an object using rhyme. For a long list like the 50 states it helps to subdivide into groups of ten further distinguished with the use of color as another memory aid. A good example is explained here.

States Mnemonics

A mnemonic is a word or phrase where its individual letters are the starting letters of the words to be remembered. For example: the colors of the rainbow can be remembered with “Roy G. Biv”. The list of 50 states and capitals is a more daunting challenge. A mnemonic for learning the 50 States of America can be found here.

To get a meaningful mnemonic for all the 50 states in alphabetical order is probably impossible. The occurrence of so many states with the same first letter is a problem. Plus five with “New” in the name.

States Census-Bureau Region Chunking

Dividing the American states into Census-Bureau regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, and learning by chunking is probably less stressful. Progress can be seen as each region is mastered. An excellent example with mnemonics can be found here.

States Song Lyrics

Song lyrics are a good way to go as an addition to the other methods. The memory is supported by the melody and it is a lot of fun. It also helps to teach the correct pronunciation.

50 States Videos

There are a number of videos that combine visual and sound. In the Animainiacs video you see the outline map of the states and as the Wakko song progresses with each name you see the state filled in with color to identify it. There have been a number of videos on this theme and many are worth checking out. See animainiacs-wakkos-us-states 

States Verse

A list of individual state limericks with the state and capital can be found here. These provide humor and are well written to standard limerick format. This gives a nice sing-song quality to aid retention.

Learning States Games

Games on the states:

  • Grasp the USA  this combines various games to teach and reinforce the states and capitals. Includes a jigsaw and time zone explanation.

  • Flix Animations' Animated States and Capitals game is a long-established, award-winning game to teach states and capitals with a full-screen click-able U.S. Map. It teaches names and locations of states and capitals in a number of colorful ways. Flix Productions Educational Software

You are spoiled for choice in methods but whatever you choose a certain amount of hard work is involved. However, it is worthwhile because knowing the 50 states and capitals is beneficial to most people and not just Americans.

My vote for best way to learn the 50 states of America goes to the regional chunking method.


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Alabama, Montgomery (AL)
Alaska, Juneau (AK)
Arizona, Phoenix (AZ)
Arkansas, Little Rock (AR)
California, Sacramento (CA)
Colorado, Denver (CO)
Connecticut, Hartford (CT)
Delaware, Dover (DE)
Florida, Tallahassee (FL)
Georgia, Atlanta (GA)
Hawaii, Honolulu (HI)
Idaho, Boise (ID)
Illinois, Springfield (IL)
Indiana, Indianapolis (IN)
Iowa, Des Moines (IA)
Kansas, Topeka (KS)
Kentucky, Frankfort (KY)
Louisiana, Baton Rouge (LA)
Maine, Augusta (ME)
Maryland, Annapolis (MD)
Massachusetts, Boston (MA)
Michigan, Lansing (MI)
Minnesota, St. Paul (MN)
Mississippi, Jackson (MS)
Missouri, Jefferson City (MO)

Montana, Helena (MT)
Nebraska, Lincoln (NE)
Nevada, Carson City (NV)
New Hampshire, Concord (NH)
New Jersey, Trenton (NJ)
New Mexico, Santa Fe (NM)
New York, Albany (NY)
North Carolina, Raleigh (NC)
North Dakota, Bismarck (ND)
Ohio, Columbus (OH)
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City (OK)
Oregon, Salem (OR)
Pennsylvania, Harrisburg (PA)
Rhode Island, Providence (RI)
South Carolina, Columbia (SC)
South Dakota, Pierre (SD)
Tennessee, Nashville (TN)
Texas, Austin (TX)
Utah, Salt Lake City (UT)
Vermont, Montpelier (VT)
Virginia, Richmond (VA)
Washington, Olympia (WA)
West Virginia, Charleston (WV)
Wisconsin, Madison(WI)
Wyoming, Cheyenne (WY)

Printable Work Sheets for your students to study, learn and practice the 50 states.

USA States and capitals FAQ  Helpful list of frequently asked questions.

Learn 50 states capitals blog More interesting stuff on learning about American geography including "States and Capitals" song and lyric videos.

States alphabetical order Putting a list of states in order.

Presidents USA List of presidents in order.

Presidents Puzzle Crossword on presidents of US with dates of office clues.

States-capitals mobile phone format if you need to find states capitals by phone.

States and Capitals memory aids to help you study, learn and retain all 50 states and their capitals. Learn-States-Capitals Learn-States-Mnemonic

Outline map with postal abbreviations USA map abbreviations list

States Word Puzzle Click to download StateTrail your FREE copy of StateTrail.

Speech Recognition spelling alphabet If you need to use the "alpha bravo charlie" phonetic alphabet to dictate, the full list is laid out for printing.

*** States and Capitals of the USA ***

We hope this List of 50 states and capitals in order has been of help to you. NOTE: The author will receive a commission on any product purchased through links on this page. Thank you.

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