Monday, 29 June 2015

Goodbye, DIY Moveable Alphabet

It's time to say goodbye to our DIY Moveable Alphabet, which was a staple on our shelves for a good three years.  This was our very last activity last year - Ladybug Girl was five.  

Her answers to the question "what do you pack for a sleepover?"
She had her first sleepover guest then, and I cut out this picture from a workbook page as a prompt.
In case you're a new reader (*hey*) and wondering what the heck a moveable alphabet is, it's a classic Montessori material that helps kids write before the reading skills kick in.  Montessori believed that expressing oneself comes naturally before reading someone else's words.  Spelling is not even corrected until elementary years (I had to get used to that).

I haven't seen the real power of this because I work during the day and Ladybug Girl is a pretty early reader, but I did see that it built confidence in making words without the pressure of correct spelling.  I relaxed on spelling when she was in preschool, and it helped our playtime that I wasn't correcting her all the time. 

Take this journal entry last year:
When your parents work, you can't wait for the weekend.

A moveable alphabet helps kids get familiar with the phonics sounds of letters to make words.  So they're more empowered to just write their thoughts by sounding their way through making words.
I see some Montessori homes online that continue to use the movable alphabet beyond pre-school years, but I really want her to use her handwriting for practice.  

I downloaded these free guides from Handwriting Without Tears, put them in clear plastic sleeves and a clipboard and whip them out when I spot some trouble with a letter:

I also used a leave-behind tray with a cursive workbook opened to a letter-of-the-day for practice:

As for our Melissa and Doug letter magnets, I have lovingly packed them and thanked them; and they will be going to our garage sale soon.  It's so bittersweet parting with our wooden toys but I'm determined to KonMari my home from top to bottom!  

Watch the sidebar of this blog or drop me an email if you'd like first dibs on the good stuff we've used.  (UPDATE: the letter magnets are sold out)

I'd like to say I'm excited for what's next but the truth is I'm more anxious than anything. 
I'm doing my thing - tons of research - and testing things out at home. 
Wish me luck!

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See our moveable alphabet archive here.

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