Last summer Ms. Wendy and I revamped the entire language section as it was in need of it after eight years. One of the things that I have always struggled with as a Montessori teacher is that I personally find the sandpaper letters boring. Yes, can you hardly believe I am saying that!
Perhaps it is because I have presented them so many times since I first started teaching. Anyway, I suggested we come up with a new and exciting way to introduce them and expand on the idea of presenting the sounds. I know all to well how important the experience of touching is with this work and so we have expanded on this for the children by adding sound baskets with tiny objects to place with the corresponding sound.
The first picture shows the phonetic sound being presented to the child using the index finger and middle finger for touch. The teacher will
touch the letter and follow it as you would when you are printing the letter. This is helpful and very important especially when a child is learning how to hold their pencil and print their letters. The second photo shows the sandpaper letter and then a rubbing of the letter in the child's sound book. We have all our children keep sound books so that we may review their sounds with them until they have mastered it. Only when the sound has been mastered do we move on to the next sounds.We present three sounds at a time and the soundbaskets have the same sounds with objects for matching. This is particularly enticing as many children are keen to get into the tiny objects which in the past only accompanied pink three letter phonetic sound boxes. We try and have two or three object for each sound. We have found this to be very successful in our classroom. If you find your child asking what a sign says while you are driving or you hear them sounding out the letters it is probably because of the sandpaper letters.