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5 Ways to Use a 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 and 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. 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. 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. 


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 5 ways that we have used the moveable alphabet here at home. 

5 ways to use a Montessori moveable alphabet at home

1.  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. 

2. Labeling

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. 

3. I-spy 

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. 

5 ways to use a Montessori moveable alphabet at home

4. Writing Prompts 

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)?" 

5. Free writing + Child's Ideas

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! 

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration on how to use a moveable alphabet in your home! 

5 ways to use a Montessori moveable alphabet at home

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

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