Large Movable Alphabet




When the child has learned the phonetic sounds of the alphabet and knows the letters by sight and has listened for the sound in words when learning them, he is ready to build words with the large movable alphabet.



A large box with 28 compartments, one for each letter of the alphabet and two extra which can be used for the dots of the 'i's" and "j's." The box contains stiff cut-out letters. The vowels are blue and the consonants are red. Script letters are used to accustom the child to print. He does not feel these letters, so the cursive need not be used here.
A large green felt mat.



Analysis of phonetic words as a preparation for reading, writing and spelling.


PRESENTATION 1: Finding Sounds with Large Movable Alphabet

This exercise is best done with 3-4 children who are all at the same stage.
The teacher spreads a large green mat on the floor. She opens the box of letters and puts the box in the lid, in front of the children. She lets the children look at the letters for a minute and then, in order to get them used to the material, she asks for various letters by sound. "Can someone find 't'?" "Put 'c' on the mat." "Find 'm.'" Each time the teacher says a letter, all the children look for it until someone finds it and puts it on the mat.

The children do not take turns; everyone tries to find the letters. When the children have had enough practice in finding the letters, they all help to replace into the box those taken out.

PRESENTATION 2: Building Words with Large Movable Alphabet

The same day, if there is time (otherwise, the following day), the teacher may proceed to word building. The material is arranged as before. The same group of children take part. The teacher tells them, "We are going to make words." She chooses three-letter phonetic words. She says, for example, "We are going to make bat. What sounds can you hear when I say "bat?" The teacher will accept them in any order and will show the children how to place them on the mat to make the word "bat."
"What sounds can you hear when I say bat?" A child may say the sound "b." "Yes, someone find 'b.'" A child finds "b" and is shown where to put it on the mat. "What else do you hear in bat? The teacher keeps on prompting in this fashion until the word is built on the mat. The teacher then reads the word back to the group a few times, the sound of each letter pronounced individually and then as a whole word. "We have made b-a-t, bat. Now, we will make pig. What sounds do you hear when I say pig?" The lesson continues in this way. A number of three-letter phonetic words are suggested by the teacher and the children build them.
This group lesson is repeated on subsequent days.