Moveable Alphabet


– Large Moveable Alphabet – a box divided into components containing the lower case lesser of the alphabet cut out in cardboard (or plastic). The vowels are blue and the consonants are pink.

– Medium-sized Moveable Alphabet in a compartmented box. For a class of 34-37 children, six boxes are recommended, two sets having blue vowels and four sets having all letters the same color.

– Small Moveable Alphabet in compartmented box. All letters the same color. Two sets each a different color from the other.

– A mat of an appropriate size for some of the Exercises.


  • Observe the child for readiness. The Prerequisites are the ability to analyze words into their component sounds in order and reorganization of the graphic symbols for the sounds.
  • It is best to begin the Movable Alphabet when the child knows all of the Sandpaper Letters so it is not necessary to edit the words the child composes.
  • Some children respond to this activity more readily if the words chosen relate to a topic of interest to them. Encourage the child t think of words to write.
  • Do not ask the child to read the words he has composed.
  • For a child who has not arrived at the usual level or readiness, this work can be started if the child’s interest is high and the child knows 10-12 sandpaper letters, including 2-3 vowels. The directress will need to dictate all the words so they can be edited to those which can be made with symbols/sounds which the child knows.
  • Moveable Alphabet work progresses from single words to phrases, sentences and finally stories. These Exercises in which the child symbolizes his own thoughts is the beginning to creative writing.
  • It is important to observe the child’s work to see if he can analyze fully and correctly symbolize each sound.
  • Spelling will be phonetic and is not correct in the early work.

Presentation 1: Building Words

  1. Introduce conversationally the making of words and think of a nice category with the child
  2. Have the child sound out a word with you.
  3. Find the symbol for each sound and lay them out clearly. (See illustration) Teacher makes the first word or words until child seems to understand.
  4. Help child to lay out the letters and to form the word that he is sounding out
  5. Observe the child when he is tiring and conclude the work.
  6. Ask the child to contribute words, filling in if the child cannot.
  7. Show child how to collect the letters by starting with the last letter and looking for the same letter in other words.
  8. Replace in appropriate compartment. 
  9. Once all letters have been returned, close the box and return the box to the shelf.


Child can take out the box whenever he likes.

Presentation 2: Age and Readiness to begin work but is not yet ready

  1. Show child the box and the way in which words are made as in the above presentation.
  2. Difference is that you will have pre-selected the symbols the child knows and will have isolated them on the lid. (Words for this presentation will be selected by the directress.)
  3. Remember to continue to teach the sandpaper letters so the child’s work with the Moveable Alphabet will continue to grow.
  4. Both of the work will be simultaneous.
  5. Once the child knows all of the sandpaper letters, he can move to the box with all of the letters.


Child can get out the box and make words that are created by the directress.

Presentation 3: Building Phrases

  1. Done as before but this time you will be making more than one word, you will be construction a phrase.
  2. Be sure to show the child how to leave a space between words by placing two fingers at the end of the word.


Done as in the presentation, with the aid of the directress as needed.

Presentation 4: Building Sentences

  1. Help the child make a complete thought and then express it in the graphic symbols.


Child will work as in the presentation with the help of the directress as needed.

Presentation 5: Building Stories

  1. Turn the rug horizontally so you have a larger space for the words.
  2. Elicit a topic of interest from the child.
  3. Help him to write a story about his idea.
  4. Show the placement of the whole hand at the end of a sentence.


Child will work as in the presentation with the help of the directress as needed.


– To help the child with the analysis and exploration of the language which is known to him and to reproduce words with graphic symbols.
– Preparation for writing and reading.

Control of Error

The Directress and then none as the child grows to do this activity alone


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