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The Moveable Alphabet

Age 4 and onwards (some children will do this earlier) Use after children know most of the short letter sounds.

Purpose: To prepare for spelling, writing and reading.

Material: A large box with spaces for letters of the alphabet plus a few extra boxes for the vowel "y." The boxes contain several copies of the lower case letters. You can make them by cutting them out from stiff, thin, cardboard or plastic reinforced paper. Consonants are red and vowels are blue.  You can use this free printout of Montessori D"Nelian or cursive-type letters. Montessori Materials has several different font downloads for free too. Montessori Materials relies on donations, so if you can, give a little to keep them open.

Presentation:
Floor activity- spread a large rug for the work area. You open the moveable alphabet box and show the letters to the child. You make sure that the child knows where the letters are in the box. Ask to find various letters, such as, "Can you show me "b"? and so on. After the child has a grasp of where the letters are you begin by saying, now we will make _______. For example, the word "bat."
Ask, "What letters do you hear when I say "bat"? Usually, it will be "b".The child finds it and puts it on the mat.
Ask, "what other sounds do you hear?" Usually, it will be "t".
The child finds it and puts it next to the b
Next say, "There is a sound between the b and t.
" S-l-o-w-l-y  and clearly enunciate the word phonetically, b-a-t for the child.
The child will hear the vowel if he or she listens carefully.
Continue to make words with your child until the exercise is mastered.
Eventually, your child will be able to work alone.
Note: Make sure you use letters that your child knows. Also, continue to work on the phonetic sounds of the alphabet.

Use any of these 3 lettered phonetic words.

How to pronounce letters phonetically.

Alphabet learning the Montessori way teaches the sounds of the alphabet first.

Montessori English Word List for Moveable Alphabet, Reading And Writing Program                                      More Exercises and Lessons

2 and 3 letter phonetic words a-e-i-o-u

-a-(short sound)
pan
bag
cat
man
bat
hat
pat
van
tap
fan
rat
mat
jam
map
can
fat
ham
mad
had
bad
pad
lad
rag
sat
ran
tax
has
lad
gap
wag
gap
gag
lap
rap
yap
gas
lag
dad
cab
an
as
at
-e-(short sound)
hen
ten
bed
net
pen
peg
men
leg
red
web
beg
fed
led
wet
let
pet
set
bet
get
yes
hem
yet
met
vet
wed
vex
den
keg
jet
-i-(short sound)
tin
pig
kid
lid
nib
pin
pip
bib
wig
ink
vim
win
dig
hid
hit
sit
it
gig
bit
big
hit
bin
din
jig
nip
sip
lit
rid
tip
rim
if
in
rip
is
did
dim
fit
him
his
kin
wit
dip
fin
lip
-o-(short sound)
pot
top
mop
rot
dog
log
rod
pog
tog
cot
dot
hod
cod
rod
bog
hog
lot
not
nod
sob
hot
rob
hop
don
on
got
pop
sod
sop
jog
jot
job
-u-(short sound)
jug
gun
hut
nut
mug
tub
bud
sun
cup
rug
bus
sum
bug
pup
tug
cub
nun
hug
rut
sup
pun
mutt
bun
fun
dug
run
gum
but
up
us
rub
mud
hum
Challenge Words
add
and
am
act
ant
egg
elk
elm
end
six
mix
fix
fox
box
ox
odd
off
of


Here are some more exercises for the moveable alphabet .

Comments

Patricia Constanza

posted at 12:03 p.m. on March 25, 2009

Hi, My 4 1/2 year old daughter has been in a montessori school for two years now and has just been introduced the movable alphabet. The teacher is expressing some concerns because my daguhter only knows the sound of about 12 letters. Another issue I am concerned about is the fact that my daughter literately refuses to speak English (we speak Spanish only at home) and I just can't get her interested in speaking or being read in Spanish. Do you think that the fact she does not like speaking in English has something to do with her not knowing the sound of the movable alphabet? She is also reserved and not very talkative (although at home she is highly verbal and has no problems starting and keeping a conversation flowing) at school, but has improved since she first started in 2007. By the way, I read to her everyday and about almost anything (in Spanish of course, because she won't allow me to do it in English). She is very energetic and into everything about learning and having fun, but words in English just don't come out. Any insights is appreciated

Ana

posted at 10:28 a.m. on May 18, 2009

Lots of bilingual children have this resistance; be assured that she's learning English perfectly well if she is functioning in her English-speaking preschool. Children of this age are astonishingly capable little linguists. You might consider teaching her the phonetic alphabet sounds for Spanish, and not worrying about the English right now. Depending on your resources, you can make or purchase the movable alphabet materials (montessorioutlet.com is a nice place) for the SPANISH letters and use them at home. That way she can move ahead with her reading and writing skills. Her comprehension of English is clearly fine; perhaps the teachers could focus on her recognition of, and not production of, the English sounds? And if it is a concern and you are able, you might try something like inviting non-Spanish speaking friends over occasionally, which would require the use of English in your home. Or whatever fits well into your family culture & routines. Finally, her teachers might consider supplementing their classroom with some Spanish-language materials, or just teaching all the children the Spanish alphabet and numbers. This is common in many Montessori schools, and quite practical for many American children.

Sally

posted at 3:20 a.m. on June 1, 2009

I also have a 4 year old who goes to a spanish school. When she comes home, she speaks 2/3rds spainish because it what dominates her world. Also my husband is spanish which doesn't help me helping her with her english. But i found that, like your daughter she started refusing to speak in english. My solution was whenever she watched cartoons, the channel were set to english and I just said that the TV was broke ! Lame I know but then it wasn't mummy's "fault" also even if she spoke in spanish I just kept on speaking in english. I also read to my daughter everynight, but there are only english boooks on her shelf and if she throws a wobbler, it's an english story book or nothing! I have taken this rather tough approach since it's very important to me that my daughter develops her english. The result, after just 10 days, her effort at responding in english is better, she watches her 10mins a day TV allowance watching a cartoon in english without protesting, and story times are fun and always in english. Good luck xxx

ken

posted at 11:19 p.m. on March 5, 2011

I'm an ESL teacher with 3 years experience teaching in China. I've recently signed on with a Montessori school and I have a 2 year old (American) son, whom I was worried at first was not learning enough English either (his nanny doesn't speak any English). What his mother and I did was during our vacation periods we let the nanny go (of course) and refused to understand his Chinese. We also frequently have "English Only" guests over. We only speak to him in English (even though he knows I speak Chinese too, I refuse to speak to him in Chinese). This approach has caused him to differentiate appropriate times for both English and Chinese. His mother and I were both very surprised by how much English he actually does know and is able to speak. I've found that exposure is the most important part for him learning. He corrects his accent with us, so I ask all my Chinese friends that can, to speak to him in English as much as possible. This way he not only hears the words, but he catches a variety of pronunciations (correct and incorrect) and usages. We spend a little extra time correcting his pronunciation and encouraging his speech, but he's become our little translator now. Its normal for children to resist a second language, but you must remember that ultimately what the child wants is to communicate. As long as they are doing that, they have no need to change what they're doing (whether its speaking a different language, grunting or throwing a tantrum). If they can get their point across they will do so the easiest way possible (or the most fun way!).

josefina suafa

posted at 3:02 a.m. on March 16, 2011

I understand what you are trying to do with your children to learn english faster but it is best for him to learn to speak two languages if possible. I suggest you don't turn your back to your first language as it is important also wo the identity of you child.

Toyin

posted at 4:02 p.m. on October 4, 2011

Josefina, i agree with you that they should not turn back to their first language, doing so is relegating the mother tongue and also making the child to lose his linguistic identity. let the school take care of the second language while you up hold the first from the home front. the child will sort herself out distinctly and be fluent in the two languages. Toyin

Niroshini Raddella

posted at 5:32 a.m. on November 30, 2011

Great

Dembegaiferge

posted at 3:39 a.m. on January 3, 2012

Thank you so much for this great webite! It is very informative.

dental sealants

posted at 11:45 p.m. on November 2, 2012

Why is this called the moveable alphabet? I just didn't realize how important that is to all of us to learn these kind of alphabet. I know this is really what I always need to be done.

Jeannine.B

posted at 1:40 a.m. on November 5, 2012

perfect design on www.montessorimom.com thanks Wish you luck!

Kudy

posted at 11:52 p.m. on April 28, 2013

I have a 4yrs old child, but she find it difficult to use d sound. What will i do?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------It's alright to skip the d sound for now. Try it again a couple of months from now. My Best, MM

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Last Updated: May 15, 2013
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