What are Sandpaper Letters ?
A child's initial introduction to letters will be to discover letter sounds using the Sandpaper Letters.
If your child has previously learned the ABCs, you will need to tell your child that:
"A is the name of the letter and a(say the letter sound) is it makes the the sound /a/."
If your child has not started learning the ABCs, save it for later and start with the Sandpaper Letters and the sound of the letters.
Sandpaper letters are letters about the size of your hand. They are made out of sandpaper and posted onto card stock or wooden boards.
Using The Sandpaper Letters
Introduce about 10 letter sounds to your child before moving to the Movable alphabet. If your child catches on very quickly to the concept of letter sounds, it is fine to start with the Large Movable Alphabet (LMA) to make 2 or 3 letters CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words.
However, if your child is younger or taking a bit more time to learn the letter sounds, you want to linger over this stage as it is a very important one to learn the sound of the letters of the Alphabet well before moving on to the Large Moveable Alphabet.
Keep the Sandpaper Letters stored on a low shelf, so that your child can use them whenever he or she desires. You will also need a small floor mat if you are working on the floor.
The Montessori 3 Period Lesson .
1) Trace your finger over the letter 'C' while you say, "/C/" To form a C start at the top left, CURVE down,
2) Take your child's dominant index finger and trace it over the letter in the same rhythm and formation. Tell him to say, "c'
3) Put away the 'c' and take out the 't' . Introduce it the same way
1) Lay down the c and the 't' . Say, "Can you show me /ccc/." If he shows you the ' t 'say, "No, that's /t/ can you show me /c/?"
2) When he shows you the 'c' say, "Good. This is... /c/, say /ccccc/. Lets Trace /cccc/." After he says the sound, take your child's finger and trace it over the letter in the same writing rhythm as before. Let him try on his own.
3) Lay the c back down and say, "Can you show me /t/." Continue as with 'c'.
1) Arrange the 2 letters in front of the child and ask the child "What is this?" Do this for each card. If he can tell you the sounds that means that he has understood and learnt the letters well.
This is a standard Three-Part Montessori lesson.
You can stop after any of the parts, if your child seems overloaded. The most important thing is that your child gets to hear, see, and trace the letter sounds. Tracing the letters is an integral part of this exercise, so we do not recommend substituting cards that cannot be traced
The sandpaper letters are truly one of the most innovative Montessori materials. They are the key to unlocking the wonderful world of words. Sandpaper letters put the skill of reading and writing at the child’s fingertips – literally!
They also help to reduce mirror imaging of letters in young children