Should you introduce letters to your preschooler in their order in the alphabet? Surprisingly, no. There are actually better ways to introduce the letters of the alphabet.
In Montessori education, letters are introduced by phonetic sounds rather than letter names. And they’re not introduced in their order within the alphabet. Instead, they’re introduced in an order that allows the child to make many words with the letters he or she has learned.
Images in the collage are from the following posts:
- Free Dinosaur Printables and Montessori-Inspired Dinosaur Language Activities
- Free Moon Printables and Montessori-Inspired Moon Activities
- Reinforcing Letter Sounds with Phonics Songs
- Montessori-Inspired Phonics Activities Using Wooden Cubes and Free Printables
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Here’s the order used in Montessori schools where I worked (introducing the letters 2, 3, or 4 at a time) as well as suggested in Montessori Matters by Sister Mary Ellen Carinato et al:
s m t a p f c
r b l i g n d
h j k w o u v
y z x q e
Here’s the order suggested in How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin:
First set: c m a t
Second set: s r i p
Third set: b f o g
Fourth set: h j u l
Fifth set: d w e n
Sixth set: k q v x y z
Here’s an order used in some other Montessori schools:
First set: m s a t
Second set: b f o x
Third set: w i g l j
Fourth set: c u p z
Fifth set: h e n r d
Sixth set: v k q y
And here’s another order used by some Montessori schools:
First set: r a m f
Second set: b i t g
Third set: p o n l
Fourth set: h u s c
Fifth set: d e x q y
Sixth set: z v w j k
This order was suggested in the post “Are Sandpaper Letters Enough?” by Cathie Perolman at the Trillium Montessori blog.
Red- s, m, a, t
Orange- c, r, i, p
Yellow- b,f,o, g
Some Montessorians use one of the above orders but first introduce the first letter of the child’s name. Of course, that works best if the child’s name starts with a simple phonetic sound rather than a phonogram like “ch.”
See my post and YouTube video “Teach Letter Sounds to Your Child Using Montessori Principles” for more about order of introduction and how to pronounce each letter sound.
You’ll find many ideas for buying or making as well as presenting sandpaper letters in my “Inexpensive and DIY Sandpaper Letters” post.
You’ll find a more thorough list of Montessori phonics activities in my “DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics for Preschoolers.”
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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