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How to Teach Sandpaper Letters – Help Kids Easily Grasp Sounds


Are you looking for a way to help children develop language and literacy skills in a fun and unique way? If so, look no further than Montessori sandpaper letters! This creative teaching method can provide engaging learning the alphabet experience for children of all ages.

By using materials like sandpaper Montessori letters, kids explore the relationship between letter sounds and shapes in a hands-on way. Not only does this approach foster early language development, but it also offers learners a chance to engage with visual cues.

Furthermore, the approach develops auditory recognition – making for an enjoyable educational experience that goes far beyond basic book reading.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the amazing possibilities introduced by Montessori sandpaper letters! This post includes the Montessori Sandpaper Letters Initial Word Building lesson. It is the 3rd work found within Montessori’s Pink Series Language.

Once kids get the idea of this activity, they have a lot of fun. The child is ready to move on to the next lesson in the Montessori language sequence. The lesson after sandpaper letters is the Introduction to the Moveable Alphabet.

Kids within the early childhood classroom and a variety of preschool classrooms enjoy this language activity! My 2.5-year-old particularly likes playing “Knock-Knock”, which is a worthwhile extension of the activity. Language learning is exciting. Kids absorb the world around them and communicate in ways that astound me.

Initial Word Building with Sandpaper Letters - Montessori Language

What are Montessori sandpaper letters?

Montessori sandpaper letters are an educational tool used to teach the alphabet and its corresponding sounds to young children. The letters are composed of sandpaper cut into individual shapes with the same upper and lowercase letters connected for tactile recognition.

Children learn about the shape of each letter in a visual and tactical sense as they feel the letter with their hands. When correctly associated with the sound, the child develops early literacy skills, preparing them to read more complex words later on.

Montessori sandpaper letters have been praised by educators for centuries and continue to be used extensively in childhood education today.

Montessori Sandpaper Letters

How do you teach sandpaper letters in Montessori?

Teaching sandpaper letters to children in a Montessori classroom is an effective way of introducing the sounds of letters. Raised sandpaper letters, writing tools, and tactile materials are used in the activity. Children trace their fingers over the grooved lines while they are verbally introduced to each letter. So, simultaneously tracing and sounding out the letter gives the child a multi-sensory experience thus preparing for reading and writing.

In addition, sandpaper letters help to improve hand-eye coordination as well as building fine motor skills. There is physical movement involved in tracing the letters. So, Montessori teachers supervise as well as offer encouragement and guidance.

The Montessori guide encourages concepts, such as starting at the top of a letter and moving downward when creating each letter shape. This process allows students to experience learning through direct participation within their own natural environment.

Sandpaper Letters Initial Word Building Lesson

What age should you introduce sandpaper letters?

When the child has mastered at least the first 4 consonants and one vowel sound. So, the age range is fairly wide depending on the child’s development.


Sandpaper letters are the letters of the alphabet cut out and each mounted on a separate piece of wood. The consonants are mounted on blue wood and the vowels are on pink.


The direct purpose of the sandpaper letters is to teach the child letter sounds by means of muscular and visual memory.

  • To begin forming and reading three-letter short vowel phonetic words.
  • Preparation for writing, reading, and spelling.


The child recognizes 3-4 consonant sounds and one vowel sound.

Sandpaper Letters Initial Word Building Presentation:

  • Invite the child to do the work
  • Bring to the mat the consonant sounds and one vowel sound the child knows, for example (c, s, m, t, a)

How to Teach Sandpaper Letters to Help Kids Easily Grasp Sounds

Place the family word (_at), (“a” and “t”) in front of the child. Have the child feel and say each sound as it is placed on the table (“a” “t”).

All You Need For An Easy Sandpaper Letters Lesson
All You Need For An Easy Sandpaper Letters Lesson

Place the first consonant to the left of (“a” “t”) and say “m” “at.” Repeat each time bringing the “m” closer and saying “m”…”at,” “m”..”at” until all 3 letters touch and form one fluid word.

All You Need For An Easy Sandpaper Letters Lesson
All You Need For An Easy Sandpaper Letters Lesson
  • Ask the child to sound out each letter without feeling the letters. Then have him repeat more rapidly until he is actually pronouncing the word.
  • Remove the (m) and repeat with (“c” “a” “t”).
  • Repeat with (“s” “a” “t”). 8. After the child understands that he is reading words, exchange initial consonants many times. The child reads the word formed each time (cat, mat, sat, mat).
  • Continue this method by isolating each vowel with sandpaper letters.
All You Need For An Easy Sandpaper Letters Lesson
All You Need For An Easy Sandpaper Letters Lesson

Points of Interest:

  • Different colors of vowels and consonants
  • The sounds
  • The shapes of the letters
  • Tracing the letters
  • Blending
  • The act of scanning
  • Colors of vowels
  • Colors of consonants
  • How the letters fit into the box

Control of Error:

  • Sandpaper letters are placed on the table surface directly in front of the child.
  • No other material is on the table in order to avoid distraction.


Sandpaper letters, Movable Alphabet, sounds, build, the color of vowels and consonants

Sandpaper Letter Resources

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