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Before The Sandpaper Letters

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Before The Sandpaper Letters

It is no secret that in the world of Montessori there is a sequence of materials.  In the area of language, it’s important to know that many things come before learning the sounds of the alphabet.  Lessons in letter sounds are often given with the Sandpaper Letters. These activities for oral and auditory development build the foundation towards learning sounds.   Many of the work listed below can begin at birth or toddler age, providing readiness and skills for later language development.  These activities require almost no materials and no preparation, just a little special time with your child or class.  Some of these have saved the day road trips with my girls. 
  •          Ask your child to mimic a simple clapping or tapping pattern.
  •          Guess who?  Clap or tap the syllables in a name.  Two claps for Je-ssie.
  •          Identify sounds in your environment (a car driving by, a bird singing, a fan blowing).
  •          Listen to music.
  •          Listening to parent’s voices.  Very early, start talking to baby.  They will hear and understand the words are for communication.
  •          Play rhyming games.  What rhymes with hat?  Cat, fat, sat, etc.  Poems in iambic pentameter are wonderful for teaching the idea of rhyming.  

Reading to Your Child

I’m sure everyone is aware of the importance of reading to children.  As a form of preparing for later reading, nothing communicates to a child that letters = sounds more than reading aloud.  Reading together sets an example and a message that reading is fun!  Be sure to allow the child plenty of time to look at books alone, too. 

Silence Games
The Silence Game isn’t really a game, but a practice in experiencing quiet.  It gives a chance to really here the sounds in our environment, and to appreciate the variety.   To do this, invite the child to be comfortable.  Laying down, or sitting up.  Ask the child to stillness, as done in yoga relaxation.  We love the book When I Make Silence.

I spy
I spy something that starts with /t/…is it tape?  Yes!  I spy something that starts with the sound /b/….is it ball?  Yes!  I spy with my little eye, something that starts with /s/….spoon?  Yes!  It’s always entertaining with people, too.   I’m thinking of someone in the room whose name begins with /w/… it Will?  Yes!  Sometimes isolating two or three objects or ideas will help narrow down the search, especially at first.  
Please feel free to comment on any of the topics you’d like to hear more about, I can elaborate more on another post here!

Jessie is a mother of three beautiful daughters (twin tots & a preschooler), an AMS trained Montessori teacher of 40 students, and a wife to one. Jessie has a background in dance, a yoga certification, and a Masters in Early Childhood Education. Jessie has a childhood education blog at

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Over $2000 in giveaways during this week of our Birthday Bash! 
Back to Reviews & Giveaways on Tuesday’s after the event!



The Education Of Ours

Monday 21st of February 2011

Thank, Jody. I love writing at Mommy Moment! Happy Birthday :)

The author of that book, Jennifer Howard, and I went to Montessori Training together, a dear friend. I'm so happy you love her book. She is a true Montessori Mama!

Amazing giveaways! Wow!

Mommy Moment

Monday 21st of February 2011

We read "When I Make Silence" regularly. It actually sits with a bell in a basket near our nature table. When Our 5 yr old wants time to herself she takes the book and rings the bell, she sits quietly for a few minutes and then rings the bell again when she is done.

Great post Jessie!