Baan Dek

Moveable Alphabet

Montessori Activities

How do you use this material?

The Moveable Alphabet is a collection of letters arranged in two boxes. The vowels are blue, and the consonants are pink, to coordinate with the Sandpaper Letters.

We’ll take the boxes to a rug and examine the letters together. A child is already familiar with letters and their sounds, from playing Sound Games and learning the Sandpaper Letters.

We’ll look at the letters, reminding what sound each shape corresponds to. “Can you find mmm? Where is b? What sound does this letter make?”

moveable alphabet

When a child is oriented to the material, we’ll brainstorm items which fit a category, for instance, colors, or animals.

The guide might suggest “red,” a simple phonetic color. “What’s the first sound in ‘red’?” “R.” They’ll find it in the box together. “What’s the next sound you hear in red?” “E.” “Do you hear any other sounds in ‘red’?” “D”

The guide might then read the word back phonetically. R-E-D, using sounds, not letter names. She’ll prompt the child with “What color do you want to write?”

moveable alphabet

What is a child learning?

This is one of the first times a child might compose words. She’s learning to string sounds together to form a word using a visual material, which is the beginning of writing.

What does a child not know they’re learning?

A child can start writing with the Moveable Alphabet when he knows a significant number of Sandpaper Letters. However, since English isn’t phonetic, there are certain sounds that might be tricky to identify. He’s experiencing the nuance of English, that sometimes we need letters to come together to make a new sound.

moveable alphabet

What can you do at home?

We often have moveable letters lying around, even without realizing it. Letters on the fridge can sometimes be strung together to make a word, as can tiles for Scrabble and other board games, or blocks with letters on them. Once a child starts recognizing letters, every letter they see is an opportunity to practice identifying the sound, and any words that letter brings to mind. Beginnings of Literacy!

Written by:

Charlotte Wood

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