Monday, January 19, 2015

Starting the Sandpaper Letters

DJ and I have been working on letter sound games for about 9 months now. It had been mostly a struggle to get DJ to even hear me at first. He just didn't seem to understand why I wanted him to learn the sounds. A little while ago I started telling him the sound games were the first step to learning to read and that helped to get him to at least listen if not participate. Using I Spy Phonics Fun books helped a lot to keep his attention.

At the same time, DJ has been fascinated with letters and wanting to learn to write. He spends a good deal of time pretending to "write" and would get really frustrated with me for not showing him letters. I really struggled with this because the Montessori albums I use strongly suggests focusing on aural sound knowledge before introducing letters. In theory this makes a lot of sense to me, but DJ just wouldn't have it.

Then DJ showed a real understanding of sounds with these rhyming cards. I often get the feeling that DJ does not like to be a trained monkey so won't perform for me. But these cards were so fun for him, he forgot to be silly and let me see what he really knows.

For Christmas, I received this awesome set of Alphatales storybooks. DJ is absolutely devouring books these days and he totally adores these books.

So last week, I made the decision to take the plunge and start presenting the sandpaper letters to DJ. This is done 2-3 letters at a time using the 3-period lesson.

Step 1: Say "This is aah" while tracing the letter with my finger. Repeat with each of the letters. Let him trace the letter.

Step 2: Ask DJ to each letter. I also expand this section by handing him miniatures and asking him to place them on the letter with the matching sound. I also had him trace the letter again. He did *really* well with this.

(I paused at this point to read each of the related Alphatales books to him.)

Step 3: Ask him as I point to a letter "What sound does this make?" He had a little bit of mixing up A & C but with a reminder he got them right.

The next day after the weekend, I bright out 5 sandpaper letters, the original 3 and D & T. I started off with Step 3 for the first 3 letters and he got them all right immediately so I started with Step 1 for D & T. He was really into it and had me read all 5 Alphatales 3+ times each.

Later that day he was playing with markers on the carpet. He was dragging them along the carpet with the cap on to leave tracks. At one point he calls out to me and said, "I drew aah! It's aah. And this one is duh!" He was so proud. I can't wait to show him the sand tray I ordered for him.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jessica! I need to blog some more but we've done 7 SP letters now and my suspicions have been confirmed. DJ totally gets the sounds, he just couldn't be bothered to answer me. But he's loving the SP letters and Alphatales books so he's engaged enough to let me see what he knows. Yay. Glad I followed my instincts!

  2. Where did you purchase your Montessori letter cards?

    1. My Sandpaper Letters are from IFIT Montessori. I've bought many things from them and I'm mostly happy with all of it. Good prices and quick delivery.