Moveable Alphabet

Curricular Area



Phonetic Spelling, Analysis of Sound, Expression of Complete Thoughts, Letter Recognition


The Moveable Alphabet is a pre-writing material children use to form phonetic words, sentences, and eventually stories.

The concrete letters allow children to sound out words even before they have a strong pencil grip. Spelling errors are not corrected at this stage. The purpose is for children to express ideas through language in a pressure-free and joyful context.


When the child has mastered sandpaper letters, the teacher presents the Moveable Alphabet to the child, choosing a short word with phonetic spelling and sounding it out.

The child manipulates the letters organized in the box to spell a short phonetic word. The child may extend her use of this work by responding to a picture card, a story, an object, or an experience.

The Moveable Alphabet can help a child process lessons in other curricular areas. In the photo below, a child composed two complete sentences about a field trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. 

Once the child is comfortable with identifying and spelling words for basic nouns, and has developed a strong pincer grip in Practical Life, he uses the work to practice handwriting.

Wellan Montessori School

80 Crescent Avenue

Newton Centre, MA 02459

Phone: (617) 969-4488   

Fax: (617) 969-4430

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