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Moveable Alphabet

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A box divided into compartments, containing the letters of the alphabet in cursive that are cut out in wood; vowels are blue, consonants are red or pink. 

A second box for later use containing smaller letters, either cursive or manuscript. 


  1. Show the child how to hold the box with your fingers underneath the box and your thumbs on top. 
  2. With the box on the rug, remove the lid. 
  3. Ask the child to slide the lid under the box as you lift the box up. 
  4. Take out eight to ten of each letter that you want to use; has to be letters the child recognizes by knowing the sound. 
  5. Once the letters you want are on the rug, ask the child to help you with the lid once again. 
  6. Say a simple, three lettered word.  
  7. Separate the sounds. 
  8. Say the word once more.  
  9. Repeat the first sound, ask the child to show you the sound. 
  10. Move the letter to the top left of the rug, starting a new column.  
  11. Repeat the second sound, ask the child to show you the sound. 
  12. Move the letter to the right of the first letter.  
  13. Repeat the third sound, ask the child to show you the sound.  
  14. Move the letter to the right of the second letter. 
  15. Choose another word. 
  16. Repeat the above process for each letter.  
  17. Continue adding words to the column until the child is ready to do this for him/her self.  
  18. Start a new column for the words when necessary. 
  19. Ask the child to fill up the entire rug with words. 
  20. Once the child is done, show him/her how to properly clean up by placing the letters in their correct places. 


Exercise 1, The child works independently, you step in only when needed. 
Exercise 2, Progress to longer words, four letter words, and beyond over time.
Exercise 3, Build phrases, then sentences, then short stories, then reports.



Control of Error


Direct Purpose

To help the child explore and analyze his language and to connect words with graphic symbols. Preparation for writing and reading.


3 1/2


You can present moveable alphabet when the child knows at least 15 of the sandpaper letters. 
You can move faster with older children, even skipping sand paper letters if the older child shows no immediate interest in them, and then go back to sand paper letters when appropriate. 
It’s good to make a rug full of words before putting the activity away. 
Focus on words that interest the child.
It is critical that the child hears the breakdown/analysis of the word.
We don’t ask the child to read the words back to us nor do we read them back.
The more work that is done with the moveable alphabet the more effectively the child will write and read.
Using pictures and objects should only be used with this material only for remedial purposes if the child needs the visual aid. 

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