R is four years old and is already learning to write, spell and read. Writing has been a challenge ever since. He refused to practice at home. Even his past evaluations indicated some resistance. But what I love about the Montessori way of teaching is that they let the child take the lead. They are not forced into something that they are not ready to take on. They would be introduced to it, but not to a point that it is mandated. A few months back, he struggled a lot writing his name, but lately he would already take the initiative in pulling out the writing board, write his name and would even ask me if he could spell my name. Now I know he is more accepting and open to writing, spelling and reading.
One of the materials used in a Montessori set-up is the Moveable alphabet that cultivates spelling, reading and writing. There are different approaches on this, depending on the child's skills. When I observed R last week, he was asked to choose 5 pictures and then his teacher pronounced the words several times. R took the queue and spells the 3 or 4 letter words using the moveable alphabet and writes the words in a piece of paper. At this level, correct spelling is not the objective.
I love this concept of the moveable alphabet. Actually, I have been waiting for the day that we would be doing this at home. To my eagerness, I initially bought Melissa and Doug magnetic wooden letters a year ago. We did play with it but not as much. It was quite costly, so when the time came that I saw that R was ready for this activity, I just thought of making a DIY version. I bought the DIY kit from the Montessori Print Shop for a fraction of a cost. I just printed the materials in white card stock paper, used contact paper instead of laminating the letter, and found a plastic case from SM department store that was a perfect buy.
|R in action in school. Before beginning, he spell out his name.|
|For storage, I bought 2 plastic cases to fit all the letters and pictures. Here he is spelling the word POLICE. Currently he is fixated with Police cars and ambulance.|
|Remember that the goal here is not to immediately correct the spelling. R here asked me if he could spell out WATER.|
I try to make this activity interesting every now and then. Sometimes, I ask him to choose from the pictures to spell out, sometimes we just have a free-flowing spelling activity and at times we do spelling and writing depending on his mood.
This activity will go a long way and you can use this even until he can spell out more complicated words. Always remember to take the child's lead to make it more fun and enjoyable.