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Materials Spotlight: Using the Movable Alphabet to write sentences

What is the Movable Alphabet?

The Movable Alphabet is a brilliant Montessori material that consists of multiples of each specific wooden letter. The consonants are pink and vowels are blue, which coincide with the Sandpaper Letters, to teach children that each word needs a vowel to complete its spelling. This work recognizes that most children are able to start spelling out words long before they have the fine motor skills to write them. This allows the child to gain the confidence in "writing" sentences before they are actually able to put the pencil to the paper.

How do children use this work for writing sentences?

Once the child has set up their work on a rug the fun begins! This work is usually done with a teacher, initially the teacher will orally gives the student a sentence to write. The student will then sound out the words needed to complete the given sentence. With incremental exposure the student will begin to write their own sentences, recall and use familiar sight words, experiment with spelling, and begin to learn the meaning of punctuation. The initial experience may have the child writing a sentence like "The cat is fat." with continued exposure and practice the child can incorporate more sight words or familiar phrases like, " My mom and dad like to have fun." The sky is the limit!

Are there extensions for this work?

Yes, of course! The teacher may set out a cluster of letters on a rug that are all mixed up. The child can then spend some time unscrambling the letters to make the sentence the teacher sought out for the child to create. The child may also test their memory once they have created or "written" the sentence with the Movable Alphabet by walking over the the white board, recalling the written sentence, and rewriting the sentence on the board.

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