Sandpaper Letters

Sandpaper Letters is an excellent material designed by Dr. Maria Montessori to introduce alphabet writing and sounds (or beginner’s phonics) to young children.

I introduced them to #1 Vee at about 3+ years old. He wasn’t keen on writing at that age, yet he enjoyed practising with the sandpaper letters. Eventually, he started writing at 4+ yo, and loves doing so till now (6+ yo).

#2 Jae is now 3+ yo and I’m introducing the sandpaper letters to him. Even #3 El (1+ yo) likes sitting on my lap to have me go through them with him.

You may buy ready-made sandpaper letters (refer to some suppliers here), or make them yourselves.

I’ve created the printables for small and capital letters using font Arial, and edited some letters to match what our local kindergarten teaches. These should be rather suitable for children in Singapore and Malaysia.

How to Make Sandpaper Letters

(A) If you’re too busy to cut sandpaper letters:

  1. Print pages 1 to 7 (of each file) on A4 paper
  2. Cut into 1/4 A4 pieces
  3. Laminate in pouches size A6 (which is 1/4 A4)

Using this method, you may show the child how to trace each letter. However, when the child traces the letter, there’d be no tactile difference between the letter and outside the letter.

This means there’s no control of error.

Only for parents who would be guiding the child closely during short home learning sessions.

(B) If you’ve time to cut sandpaper letters:

Materials needed:

  • 7 x A4 paper OR coloured paper / card stock (2 x blue, 6 x pink)
  • Laminating pouches (A6)
  • 2 x Sandpaper (smoothest type)
  • Super glue or double-sided tape (narrow)

Steps:

  1. Print pages 1 to 7 (of each file) on A4 paper OR Cut A4 coloured paper or card stock 1/4 A4 pieces
  2. Laminate in pouches size A6 (which is 1/4 A4)
  3. Print pages 8 & 9 (of each file) on A4 paper
  4. Cut out the letters (they are in reverse)
  5. Place each letter cut-out at the back of the sandpaper. Trace outline of each letter.
  6. Cut the sandpaper
  7. Stick the sandpaper letter onto the laminated coloured card (Use super glue or double sided tape)

How to store your Sandpaper Letters:

I bought the single brochure stand from Daiso at RM5 each. This is of just the right width to hold the laminated sandpaper letters.

How to Teach Using Sandpaper Letters

Preparation:

  • Buy or make a set of Sandpaper Letters.
  • Place the set on a child’s table prepared for reading and writing practice.
  • Alternatively, place the set on a shelf with other reading and writing work.

Presentation:

  1. Invite the child to follow you.
  2. Go to the table with the Sandpaper Letter set.
  3. Say “These are Sandpaper Letters.”
  4. Choose one letter. (We usually start with the sounds in the child’s name as they generate the greatest interest.)
  5. Assuming “c” is chosen, say “This is cuh.” (Say the sound instead of the letter name, as the purpose is to teach reading.)
  6. Trace the letter carefully with your index and middle fingers (Purpose is to build towards the pincer grasp for writing later on.)
  7. Say “Cuh”. (This is for you to say. The child may wish to follow if he wants to.)
  8. Return the letter to the holder and choose another letter. (Perhaps 2 to 3 each time. More if the child is keen.)
  9. Return the set carefully to its original place.
  10. Invite the child to try.

Control of Error:

  • Fingers trace out of the sandpaper letter
  • Adult listens to the sound pronounced

Free Sandpaper Letter Printable

Get your free downloads here:

  1. Sandpaper Letters
  2. Sandpaper Letters – Capital

Hope you like them!

.

~ Carol (aka MieVee)


Updated on 15 January 2020

4 thoughts on “Sandpaper Letters”

  1. Please tell me if there is anything else I can do with the sandpaper letters besides having the child trace them with their finger?

    1. Hi Chris, Montessori Sandpaper Letters are also used to introduce the basic phonic sounds to the child. We usually start with the sounds in the child’s name as they generate the greatest interest. For e.g.
      – Show sandpaper letter “c”
      – Say “This is cuh”. (Say the sound instead of the letter name, as the purpose is to teach reading.)
      – Trace with 2 fingers (index and middle, to build towards pincer grip)
      – Say “Cuh”
      – Return and choose another letter. (Perhaps 2-3 each time or more if the child is keen.)
      – Invite the child to try.

      I’ll update the post with clearer details. All the best!

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