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Movable Alphabet

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Dr. Montessori indicates writing occurs first and reading 
generally occurs about six months after the start of writing.
 Writing generally begins around age 4, 
forming words using the movable alphabet. 


Reading and writing are different processes with reading requiring a greater level of maturity. I can testify in our experience my daughter was in fact reading at 3 1/2 years old, only 3 months after using the movable alphabet.

In Montessori typically the movable alphabet is introduced after the child has mastered all of the sandpaper letters. Meaning that they know all of the phonetic sounds. You may have noticed the blue and red colors. The blue symbolizes vowels and the red letters are consonants for easy detection for the child. There are my brands and types of movable alphabets to choose from. We have this small movable alphabet and this large movable alphabet.

You as a parent or teacher will have to decide if you will be teaching cursive or printed letters. Once you have decided you can purchase either the large or small movable alphabet. The small movable alphabet is great for fitting small spaces and easier for older children. The large movable alphabet is great for beginning forming words with the large text, though it takes up much more room on a shelf. 

Once you know the child understands the phonetic sounds have them sit with you at the table and introduce it by it's name "movable alphabet". Point to each letter in the box saying its phonetic sound. Then have them do their first work of matching the movable alphabet letters to the sandpaper letters. 



The work should be placed on the mat using the pink series, preferably with the large movable alphabet. Start with word families about 4 to 5 words at a time.

Example would be you the teacher placing the letters a and t down. Have the letters b,c,h,s,m, placed in the right bottom corner of the mat. Tell the child to put a letter infront of the a and to make a word. When they put the letter there have them sound out the word. Example they picked a "b" they would put it next to the a and t first. Then they would say buh - ah - t. Bat.



Next work is forming words using small objects with the same vowel. Example do not have a mug and a cat object at the same time for this work. Start just a couple small objects in the bottom right corner. We bought our small objects in a set from Lakeshore Learning called Alphabet Sounds Teaching Tubs. The quality of the objects are great. My daughter has loved using them ever since she was 2 years old.

Then you can switch to picture cards for each of the color series. Pink is first, then blue, finally green. We printed and laminated our pink series from a blog called The Helpful Garden. You can choose to download these FREE cards or make your own or buy them online. 

Video of my daughter using the picture cards to form words.


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