Montessori Phonics Curriculum for Preschool - MontessoriPulse (2023)

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Phonics is learning the sounds of letters. The Montessori Phonics curriculum is one of the most effective ways to teach preschoolers to read. Sounds pave the way for language development. They build a foundation for reading and writing.

Nursery rhymes, storytelling and simple sound games are techniques for introducing sounds. Talk with your child about the different sounds you hear throughout the day. Draw the child's attention to theStart,Half, youFinishingword sounds is the first step. The next step is to presentsandpaper lettersteach the “graphic codes” of sounds.

Montessori Phonics Curriculum for Preschool - MontessoriPulse (1)

Free printable sandpaper letters and numbers

Montessori phonetics activities for preschoolers.

  1. sandpaper letters
  2. sand tray
  3. movable alphabet
  4. language mat
  5. sound card and object/picture cards

These Montessori materials are simple but effective. These few materials can be very useful and will take a child months to master. It is important to give the child enough time and space to practice. Daily practice and repetition help internalize the sounds.

Take a look at my latest blog post:How to DIY with Basic Montessori Materials

Teaching phonics step by step

sandpaper letters

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Sanded Letters add a concrete touch to the letters. They develop muscle memory and prepare the child for both writing and reading. When introducing phonetics, we do not need to follow alphabetical order. choose the 3 sounds of your preference. But if it's the child's first time or depending on the child's fine motor skills, you can choose easy shapes like "l". It is better if the letters have contrasting shapes and include at least one vowel. I always start with“l”, “c” e “a”.

The Three Period Lesson: 3 Easy Steps

  • Us
  • Recognition
  • remembering


Turn over the three chosen sandpaper letters. Choose the one you want to teach first, while the other two are still face down. Trace (with two fingers: index+middle) and name the sound (not the letter name). Give the child one at a time. Repeat for all three sounds. (Make sure all other letters are facing down when filing one.)


Turn the three letters over and show them in front of the child. The child must be able to see all three letters at once. Ask the child, “show me l”, “show me c”…etc, or “point to c”, “could you draw a”…etc. Don't ask, "What is this sound?" Make sure your question includes the name of the sound. Because at this stage it is too early for the child to remember the new sounds on his own. Repeat several times until you feel the child is ready for the next level.


This stage is like a testing stage. Turn the three letters upside down as in the first stage. Take one letter at a time and ask, "What sound is that?" If the child can say it, go to the next letter. If you feel the child needs more practice, you can always step back and practice the previous step. In the Montessori method, this teaching method is called "The Lesson of the Three Periods". It's a very effective strategy for teaching new words. Repeat these steps until you cover the entire alphabet.

sand tray

The sand tray is a child's first writing experience. Writing in the sand tray is a good way to practice the sounds more. We can let the child use the sandpaper letters and the sand tray simultaneously. Show the child how to first trace the letter on sandpaper and write the same letter in the sand. For this activity, you can also add picture cards. Try to draw the child's attention to the initial sounds of letters. This is an extra step and you can decide if the child can process all three actions together. If your child needs extra practice writing in the sand, you can skip this step.

movable alphabet+ language mat

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These letters are a bit abstract compared to sandpaper letters. When the child learns at least 4-5 sounds, you can introduce this activity. The purpose of the Language Mat is to familiarize the child with the position of the letters in the lines.


  • Bring the moving alphabet and language mat to the table. (The actual Montessori Mobile Alphabet is too big to sit on the table, so you can keep it on the shelf or on a rug.
  • Ask the child to find the specific sounds and show him how to place them on the mat.
  • Let the child repeat it several times.

movable alphabet+ Language Mat + Objects /picture cards

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The purpose of this activity is to draw the child's attention to the initial sounds of words. The child should already be very familiar with the sounds and their position in the box.

  • First show the object or picture and ask the child what sound he hears when he says that word. For example,"What's the first sound you hear when you say cat?"
  • Have the child find that sound in the alphabet box and place it on the mat next to the object or picture cards.
  • Keep the activity available on the shelf for the child to practice daily. You can even improvise different ways of doing this to make it more fun and exciting. Remote matchmaking is a way to spice up this activity.

Remote pairing:

Remote matchmaking is a matchmaking activity. The difference is that we keep the corresponding objects away from each other. For this activity, keep the cards on a table and the Picture Cards on a table across the room. Give the child one picture at a time to go to the table across the room and bring the start. This is a brilliant way to get your child involved in the activity and be active. Preschoolers are sensitive to movement. Distance pairing can get the child moving while engaged in a meaningful activity.

sound cardsand Objects/picture cards

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For this activity, we will be using the same Object/Image cards as before. But sound cards are a little different than Movable Alphabet. The true Montessori movable alphabet are letters cut out of wood. They give the child a more concrete touch. Soundcards are abstract compared to the movable alphabet.Make small boxes with 6 sound cards and 6 corresponding image cards each. Keep them on the shelf for the child to practice. This is an excellent activity for the language center. You can also do remote pairing with this activity. The method is the same. Substitute the moving alphabet for sound cards and spread it out on a table across the room. Give the child plenty of time and space to practice and learn. Always watch and decide when to move to the next level.

Importance of phonemic awareness at an early age.

A child's language development begins at birth. All children go through a language-sensitive period by age 6. During this time, they can learn as many languages ​​as they are exposed to. Learning the mother tongue perfectly does not require effort. Children perfectly learn the precise use of vocabulary, grammar and intrinsic syntax. This is the reason why any child will learn the spoken language even if it is not taught to him. But it is not the same when it comes to writing than reading. Writing and reading must be taught strategically. The first step to successful writing and reading is phonemic awareness. It is crucial to introduce phonic activities while they are sensitive to language. (birth to 6 years). Once the child passes this period, it will take extra effort for the child to learn them.


Use osandpaper lettersto insert the sound. Take three sounds at a time and follow the three-period lesson. Then bring out the litter box right away. Once the child knows 3 or 4 sounds, introduce him to the movable alphabetand language mat. To maintainsound cardsy picture cards available on the shelf for the child to practice on a daily basis. Remember to observe and accompany the child to decide the pace of these activities.

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