Or A certain Order of Letters
Introducing your preschooler to the alphabet should not be done in the order they appear. There are much better ways to introduce the ABC’s so your child will actually make words with the letters as they learn them. A Montessori education introduces children to letters by using their phonetic sounds instead of by their names.
One method of order for teaching the alphabet
Tim Seldin, author of How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way suggests these letters be first to introduce to your child. He suggests you introduce them in six different sets:
- First: c m a t
- Second: s r i p
- Third: b f o g
- Fourth: h j u l
- Fifth: d w e n
- Sixth: k q v x y z
This method is used by some Montessori classrooms and there are variations. Some introduce the letter that starts your child’s first name as a starting point.
Introducing letter sounds and names
Sandpaper letters are a wonderful way to introduce your child to letter sounds with their names. In this method, have your child trace the letter and say its phonetic sound at the same time. It is a great way for your child to remember through auditory, visual and tactile inputs.
Some of the principles you may want to implement that is effective in teaching letter sounds are:
- Begin with the short vowel sounds before you introduce the long vowels
- Don’t focus on the letter names to start, just the sounds.
- Begin with the lowercase letters to introduce the sounds.
- Even though some letters make more than one sound, start with its most common sound first.
Normally, unless your child has had a lot of exposure to sounds and letters, you should start with only two or three letters at a time.
In the Montessori setting children are introduced first to the letters that have some connection for them such as their first name. This is followed by one that is contrasting to that letter so the shapes and sounds are completely different.
How to start the introduction
Begin by sitting with your child and introduce one letter at a time using the sand paper technique. Call the letter by its sound and then the name. Trace the letter in the same way as you would write it. As you are tracing it say what sound it makes and what it is called asking your child to repeat what you say.
To help your child relate the sound and letter to something tell them a few words that use the letter. Give your child the opportunity to practice identifying the letter by tracing and saying the sounds. Turn the letter upside down so your child cannot see it and repeat the process with the second letter.
Once you’ve introduced both, turn them both up and ask your child to find one of them. Ask them to show you which is “a” and if they can trace it? Repeat with the second letter and ask for example for them to place the “b” on your lap. Continue having them identify the different letters until you feel they are comfortable enough to move on to new sounds and letters.
The Montessori method to learning the alphabet has many more details which you can learn about by scheduling a tour at our Fremont daycare. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.