Montessori Language 3 – 6

Oct 022017

ACTIVITY : Sandpaper Sounds / Letters


A set of square cardboards containing the sounds or the shapes of the letters of the alphabet in sandpaper.
The letters are written in lowercase.

Montessori Sandpaper Letters Lower Case

Montessori Sandpaper Letters Lower Case

5 of the cards are blue card, representing the vowels.
The remainders of the letters are on pink card.
A table mat.


To help the child recognize the shape of the letters and the sounds they make.


The roughness and smoothness of the sandpaper. The letter may be placed towards the right hand side of the card so that the child has a space to hold the card with his left hand.

AGE:3 ½  – 4 years approx.


  1. Invite the child to get a work mat. The child sits on your non-dominant side. If the child is left handed, accommodate him by sitting on his dominant side and tracing the letter with your left hand.
  2. Sensitise the fingers and invite the child to do so.
  3. The Montessori Directress selects 3 letters, preferably 3 from the child’s name. The sounds should look and sound very different.
  4. Leave the sounds face down at the top right hand side of the table.
  5. Choose one of the letters.
  6. Place it face up in front of the child.
  7. With the index and middle fingers trace over the sandpaper symbol, the way that it should be written.
  8. Sound it out saying, “This is f”. the sound should be traced in one smooth, continuous movement.
  9. Repeat tracing the letter again, and then repeat the sound.
  10. Invite the child to trace and to sound out the letter.
  11. The Montessori Directress then turns the card over at the top of the table again, and repeats the procedure with the next sound and then the next. Remember to always isolate the letters in the first period.
  12. In the second period, the Montessori Directress places all 3 letters and the mat and points to a card and asks, “Show me the f” and so on.
  13. Repeat the second period as often as possible
  14. In the third period the Montessori Directress again turns the cards face down, but places one face up, in front of the child and asks, “which sound is this?”
  15. Repeat the procedure with all 3 cards remembering to isolate the cards in the third period.


  1. Ask the child if he would like to trace the letters in a sensorial medium such as a tray of mealie meal.
  2. The child copies the letters.
  3. At this point there is no need to correct the child.


  1. Ask the child if he knows any words that start with the letters that you have just traced. E.g. ”Do you know an animal that swims under the water that begins with the sound f?”
  2. “Can you think of a word that begins with f?” and so on with all 3 letters.


  1. The child can form his letter out of playdough or clay.
  2. Alternatively, he can sew around the shape of the letter. The shape will have been made by the Montessori Directress and cut out of cardboard.
  3. The child can make the letters in a medium of finger-paint having great fun as he does so.