moveable alphabets

This video lesson is designed for 3-6-year-old children to familiarize them with moveable alphabets using CVC – (Constant- Vowel- Constant) words and pictures.

In this lesson, a child will learn to make three-letter words like cap, web, cup, etc. using a Montessori moveable alphabet box. This method is a fun and interactive way of developing the child’s creative thinking and practicing hand-eye coordination.

What is the Montessori Moveable Alphabet?

A key component of the Montessori Language Curriculum is the Moveable Alphabet. In addition to teaching children the alphabet, the material also teaches them how to understand written language.

A moveable alphabet (large moveable alphabet) is a wooden box divided into compartments containing lowercase alphabets. It contains 26 wooden letters. Vowels are in blue, and consonants are in red. 

The large moveable alphabet is a versatile Montessori material because of its endless learning extensions. It helps a child build reading, writing, and spelling skills and helps them to increase their language competency.

Prerequisites of Moveable Alphabets 

A child must be introduced to letter identification and formation using sandpaper letters.

Purpose of Moveable Alphabets

Moveable alphabets help a child develop the ability to analyze and recognize graphic symbols for phonetic sounds. Its main purpose is to prepare them for writing, reading, and spelling in the English language.

With the help of moveable alphabets, a child progresses from letter recognition to word formation, to sentences, to stories. In this way, a child learns how to symbolize their thoughts and write a masterpiece.  

Benefits of Introducing Movable Alphabets

  • Builds vocabulary by forming and reading three-letter short vowel phonetic words
  • Improves order and concentration
  • Improves coordination 
  • Provides independence and self-esteem
  • Provides phonetic sound awareness to read and write complex sentences.

How to tell if your child is ready to use the moveable alphabet?

To understand whether a child is ready to use moveable alphabets or not, they must be versed in recognizing consonants and vowels using sandpaper letters. Also, a basic understanding of the phonic sounds of various letters helps the to do better word and sound analysis and lets them for words with correct spelling. 

Once a child recognizes the sounds of letters, the movable alphabet will be ready for use.

Montessori Moveable Alphabets and CVC Cards

When the child is introduced to the pronunciation of letters and tracing them on sandpaper, they are ready to create short vowel words and match objects.

Different words that follow the CVC pattern (Constant- Vowel- Constant) are:

  •  /a/: bag, can, cap, cat, fan, pan
  •  /e/: bed, hen, jet, peg, pen, web
  •  /i/: bib, kid, lid, pig, pin, wig
  • /o/: dog, fox, dog, mop, pop, top, pod
  •  /u/: bud, bus, cup, gum, jug, tub

How to Build Vocabulary using Movable Alphabet Box

  1. Invite the child to choose a work mat.
  2. Bring the CVC cards on the mat.
  3. Open the box of the Moveable Alphabet, 
  4. Show the picture of a cap to the child.
  5. Ask the child, “What sounds do you hear when I say cap?”
  6. Encourage the child to listen and form the word “cap” using long moveable alphabets. Repeat the activity with another picture.

Once the exercise is complete, return the letters to the box.

What a Child will Learn from Montessori Moveable Alphabets?

A child can learn a lot of things when learning the English language.

  • Building and recognizing letters: A child will learn different alphabet letters by the way it looks and by tracing them on sandpaper.
  • Forming short vowel sounds words using picture cards: As shown in the video, the child will be able to form and match two-letter, three-letter, and four-letter words, and so on.
  • Forming sentences: Once a child is well versed in word formation, they will be able to start making short sentences like ‘this is a cat’. Later, they can move to form more complex sentences. For example, Martha has a black furry cat.
  • Forming short stories: Once the child is well versed in forming sentences, they are introduced to a picture card and ask them to write what is happening in that picture. This also helps in boosting their creative thinking. Children also learn to express their ideas creatively through the Moveable Alphabet. 

Related Video Resources:

  1. Beginning Sounds: Set 1B
  2. Alphabet Three Period Lesson
  3. Name Lessons

Watch the video and encourage the child to practice forming new words and improving their vocabulary.  

For more language resources, click here.

Video Created by: Joanne Shango


  • What are movable alphabets?

The moveable alphabet is an important part of language development in a Montessori environment. It is a wooden box with 26 compartments for 26 letters. Vowels are usually blue, while consonants are pink or red. It helps a child in word and sentence formation.

  • How do you use the Montessori moveable alphabet?

When you open the box of the moveable alphabet, place the lid under the box. Now, holding each letter asks the child to pronounce the sound of that letter. Once this exercise is complete, use word or picture cards and ask the child to form a simple three-letter word by listening to the sound it produces, such as “Cat.” Explain “What sounds does a cat make?” Encourage your child to listen and process the words.


  • English
  • grammar
  • Language
  • primary