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December 04, 2019

5 Ways to Use a Montessori Movable Alphabet at Home

The moveable alphabet is one of my favorite Montessori materials for ages 3-6. It really is genius. Dr. Montessori found that children were able to write and more interested in writing before they could read. So, in Montessori the act of writing is actually taught first, and it's through this writing that children start to read. And, this is supported by modern reading research which shows the teaching reading and writing skills together makes kids better readers.  

Children often have so many thoughts and feelings that they want to get out, but often lack the motor control to physically write all of these things down. This is where the moveable alphabet comes in. It takes away the need to physically write the letters while giving children the ability to write. It's one small adaptation that makes such a world of a difference to a child. READ MORE ABOUT THE MOVABLE ALPHABET HERE

Using a Moveable Alphabet at Home: 5 Ideas to Try

I love the moveable alphabet so much that it is one of the Montessori materials that I make available in my home for my children even though they attend an in-person Montessori school. I'm sure there are almost endless ways that your child can come up with to use the letters of the moveable alphabet but here are five ways that we have used the moveable alphabet here at home. 

A cursive Montessori moveable alphabet sits on a colorful rug. Below it a child has used the alphabet to phonetically spell out words matching picture cards of baby animals in their Montessori home.

Using a Moveable Alphabet with Language Objects/Cards 

You'll need: language objects (or picture cards in subjects that interest your child) in small bowl or tray + moveable alphabet 

To present: Take out one language object and slowly say it's name, then say it again emphasizing each sound. Repeat a third time but removing the corresponding letters from the tray. You can repeat with a couple of objects and then give the reigns to your child. 

Play Labeling Games with Your Moveable Alphabet

You'll need: moveable alphabet

To present: Find an object of interest to you in the room. Go over to it and slowly say it's name focusing on the sounds that make up the name. Then return to your moveable alphabet and start gathering the sounds. Take them over the object and label. Invite your child to label their favorite things. 

I-spy and the Moveable Alphabet

You'll need: moveable alphabet 

To present: Play a game with your child, and start by taking turns. First, pick an object in your mind in the room, then say "I spy with my little eye..." and then spell out the object with the moveable alphabet. Then your child can read what you wrote and find the object. Then, your child can take a turn. 

Close up of moveable alphabet in box in Montessori home. A young child has used the letters to spell animal words as they learn to write and read using Montessori.

Present Writing Prompts with the Moveable Alphabet

You'll need: small basket of writing prompts + moveable alphabet 

To present: make a small basket of writing prompts for your child to read (or for your child to pick from and you read) and invite your child to answer the question using the moveable alphabet. These can include things like "how was your morning?" "What should be buy at the grocery store?" "Write a letter to a friend." "What do you want to do tomorrow?" "What's your favorite type of farm animal (or whatever interests your child)?" 

Free writing Your Child's Ideas with the Montessori Moveable Alphabet

You'll need: moveable alphabet

To present: Just make the moveable alphabet available and allow for creative writing and exploration with it. You might take it out to write something down to model, or just see where your child goes with it. Just remember they often have great ideas and are far more inspired than we are as adults! 

Young children learn to read best when reading and writing are paired together. The Montessori method understands this and uses the moveable alphabet as a way to make writing accessible even to the youngest learners. Here are five ways that you can use a Montessori moveable alphabet at home with your preschoolers and kindergarteners. These simple games make literacy and early writing fun and manageable.

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration on how to use a Montessori moveable alphabet in your home with your preschool aged child. These ideas don't take a lot of time but they can be a great way to practice literacy skills at home! 

Has your child used a moveable alphabet? What do they enjoy doing with it? 


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Britt L
Britt L said…
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