Reading and Writing with Moveable Alphabet

The moveable alphbet  is the building block for spelling, writing and reading.  Introduce penmanship at the same time you are introducing the sounds of the alphabet. Write letters that your child has already been spelling  or reading with the moveable alphabet. When your child is able to read the moveable alphabet words, introduce simple phonetic books. With a little help with your word processor and printouts you can make interesting and easy to read books..

Also, 3-part cards help with reading skills for your students. Create a book using your 3-part card material for added success for your student.

Beginning to Write

When a child has been able to trace and draw lines with the metal insets and has good pencil control, writing is introduced while learning the sandpaper letters.

Take a sandpaper letter that your child knows well with an unlined piece of paper and pencil. Make sure your child is seated at a table that is the correct height for writing.  Your child feels the letter a few times. Afterwards, you write the letter on the paper in the correct form. I write a larger letter than normal because younger children usually write bigger letters than  adults. Give the child the pencil and show how to feel the letter again. Let the child write the letter, feel the letter again and write the letter a second time. Many times children will repeat this until they have mastered writing the letter.

It is much easier to learn how to write correctly from the beginning. Montessori teaches cursive writing and not manuscript. This way a child can master one way of writing without having to change writing styles.


Children sometimes can spell words, but are unable to read the same words they spell. When they can begin to sound out these 3 lettered words they spell,  it is time to introduce reading. Many Montessori practitioners use the Pink Reading Scheme. A wonderful treasure and resource for the Pink Reading Scheme is The Helpful Garden. Check it out for a very organized and easy to use program. Many of the printouts are free!

Sandpaper Letters

After providing an enriching environment with reading readiness materials, handwork and art supplies, nomenclature cards and books, most children are ready to learn the sounds of the alphabet.

Since the Montessori method is based on phonetics first, and exceptions to the rule later, letters are introduced phonetically using fine grade sandpaper letters. This tactile approach uses sight, touch and verbal clues to reinforce the sounds of the alphabet.

After learning several letter sounds make a game by placing objects or pictures next to the corresponding letter. This game helps child categorize the beginning sounds of words to a particular letter.

After learning at least one vowel and some basic constants you can start building some simple 3 lettered words. As more letters are learned, children can begin using the moveable alphabet.

Spatial Laguage

Young child learn how to recognize patterns, sizes and shapes visually. The sequence of sizes, shapes and patterns in a series is important, not only for reading skills, but mathematical skills. Some work  that helps develop visual language are matching pictures according to size and pattern, memory matching games, stringing beads, hand work,  painting and drawing. As in most Montessori lessons, it is important to work from left to right, or according to the pattern of reading in your culture.


Listening and Speaking Vocabualry

When learning a language, as a child or adult, understanding what is being said is the first step to learning a new language. Speaking fluently occurs next.
Babies and toddlers listening skills are much more developed than their speaking vocabulary
This means you can read books that exceed your child’s ability to speak. I read simple chapter books to my children when they were 4 or 5 years old.

Encourage oral language by having your child tell you about their drawing, their toys, favorite food and anything else that interests them.
If you have a video camera, let them perform and speak before the camera.