Montessori Read and Write : Sandpaper letters – DIY and alternatives.

Following my previous blog post about the Sound games, this week, I want to introduce you to the Sand paper letters.

Once your child can play the Sound games confidently at level 3, he is ready to identify the letters of the alphabet.

As a parent, you might be very eager to teacher the letters but an understanding of the sounds and phonetic awareness must come first. So be patient and follow your child's lead.

Basically, a letter is a sound represented on paper. 

In addition to the sound awareness, your child will need a good hand/eye coordination to trace the letters and later on, to write. So, make sure you offer plenty of opportunities to strengthen those finger muscles.

How to present the Sandpaper letters

Present the letters to your child, 3 maximum at a time to start with.

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Choose 3 letters from one of those groups of letters: first cmat, 2nd srip, 3rd bfog, 4th, hjul, 5th dwen, 6th kqvxyz .

Having said that, the x and z letters are generally super easy to learn and to remember for most children.

Show one letter and say this is m and show how to trace the letter with your index finger.

During my training, I was shown how to sensitive the fingers in warm water before doing this activity. To be honest, I didn't bother that much with my own children.

Let your child trace the letter after you have demonstrated once. Repeat for two other letters. Then show to your child the 3 letters and ask your child to show you "m" then "c" then "a" for example. 

And lastly, pointing to each letter in turn, ask your child "what is it?" and hopefully, your child will remember every letter you have presented today.

Each day, before presenting some new letters, go over the ones your child knows already. This is not to check what your child knows but to encourage your child by showing her that she knows some letters already. 

Where to buy the Sandpaper letters and cheaper alternatives

The official Sandpaper letters can be costly.

In the UK, you will find them:

- on the Absorbent minds website

- on Tower high learning

- on Montessori design by Nuccia

Let's me show you some alternatives:

My daughter and my husband hate the feeling of sandpaper so why not having a felt version.

- Felt sandpaper letters on Etsy

For my children at home, I had a set of Didax letters. The Sandpaper went away after a few years but I could glue it back and it was enough for the time I needed them.

This set seems ok and similar to the Didax.

DIY Sandpaper letters

I have to admit I never did many materials myself.

But if you want to try to make some tactiles letters, here are some ideas:

At Welcome to Mommyhood, you will find a step by step and instructions how to make the sandpaper letters here with a free printable.

Instead of "sandpaper", you can use pipe cleaner

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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.