Skip to main content

Introducing the Montessori Sandpaper Letters at Home

The Montessori language materials for 3 to 6 year olds are so amazing! They breaks down the process of learning to write and read so beautifully. And each material meets a child exactly where they are at that moment. As you may know, I've been sharing parts of Gus' journey with Montessori reading and writing and how we are support that journey at home. And, finally, we've reached the sandpaper letters! 


This post contains affiliate links at no cost you. 

The sandpaper letters are a Montessori activity that can help your child learn the alphabet and start to read.

I actually introduced the sandpaper letters to Gus late last autumn right around the time he turned 3-years-old. It was my hope that we would work through them together through the school year and then he would have a solid foundation moving into Children's House this year. Well, then Covid happened, and he did get some work with them, but not as much as I was envisioning. So, he is still working with them today (although in a slightly different capacity - I'll share how soon!) 

We use cursive sandpaper letters here at home because at school they are introduced to cursive first. I'm also a firm believer in the power of cursive for other reasons. But print is also a totally valid choice. I think it's more important to just stick with one or the other as you introduce then it is exactly which you introduce. Sandpaper letters are also a super easy DIY! 

To introduce I used the Montessori 3-period lesson to introduce a couple of the letters at a time. If you aren't familiar with the 3-period lesson, in a super nutshell:
  • First Period: the adult says the name of the item being introduced and lays it in front of the child
  • Second Period: the adult asks the child to identify (either by pointing to it or by handing it to the adult) one of the objects that the adult introduced in the first period. Here the child is not asked to verbally identify the item
  • Third Period: the child is directly asked what the name of the object in front of them is
Depending on the child and the work being presented, you might move through all the stages in a 3-period lesson all in one presentation. Or, you might only move through part of it and return to the work for the further stages when the child is ready for more. 


So with the sandpaper letters with Gus, it looked like this: 
  • First period: "Gus, I want to show you something very special! Come join me at the table. These are the sandpaper letters, they each make a different sound. This is /m/" Then place the letter M (which I only identify by it's sound) on the table and slowly trace it with two fingers. "/m/" I repeat the sound one or two more times while tracing it, then go to the next letter. "This is /p/ ... /p/" I would continue until my small stack of letters was gone, again, usually 2-3 at a time. AND LETTER SOUNDS ONLY. 

  • Second Period: "Gus, let's play a game!  Can you point to the /m/? You found it! Would you like to trace it?" Then he would. This would continue for a few minutes highlighting each of the letters that I was introducing. On my first introduction of a new letter I would end by asking him to hand me the letter and then I would pack them away. I only moved on to the third period when I had a pretty good feeling that he would be able to have some success in recognizing and saying the sound. 

  • Third Period: With all the sandpaper letters laid out in front of Gus, I would point to one of the letters and say "Which letter is this?" If Gus answered correctly I would say, "yes, this is /p/!" and then I would trace it and offer him a chance to trace. If he answered incorrectly I would instead say "I have the /m/" and then trace and offer him a chance. Then we would continue to repeat until I could tell he was done with the work. 
I introduced new letters every week or so, following his cues. I would place the letters on the shelf in a small pile on a tray. In a classroom, they might be displayed so they could all more easily be seen. We just didn't have that kind of room here at home. 

And, that's it! That's how we introduce sandpaper letters here at home! In my next post, I'll share some of the follow up work that I used with Gus to help him return to the sandpaper letters without as much adult influence. 

The sandpaper letters are a Montessori activity that can help your child learn the alphabet and start to read.

Have you introduced sandpaper letters at home? Did your children like them?
---

Comments

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique