Tips for helping a child trace the sandpaper letters? - Mothering Forums
Montessori > Tips for helping a child trace the sandpaper letters?
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 01:35 AM 10-29-2010
DD knows a lot of letter sounds, enjoys fuzzy things, and likes to write o (and scribble to "write"). She can also pick out the object when asked for a "letter sound".

So I figured I'd go ahead and make her some "sandpaper" (used felt instead as it is more pleasant to rub) letters. Because they're for learning letter sounds and for learning to do writing and she's into both those things.

She either isn't ready for them at all, or I'm going about presenting them totally wrong. Because she watched me trace the letter and promptly petted the card and told me it was fuzzy. (She did repeat the sound though and told me "uhl! for Lina!")

I'm thinking I'll just leave them on her shelves and try the tracing thing from time to time until she's developmentally ready. I can always replace any that get scruffy.

Lillianna's Avatar Lillianna 05:48 PM 10-29-2010
Sounds like a good start! The sandpaper letters are gradually introduced over time and involve many, many, many short, quick lessons and repetitions. The children work with them pretty much over the entire 3 year cycle. First in the introductory stage, then with games (sounds games and objects), then with sandtrays and chalkboards. Even when the children are beginning to write little books, they sometimes refer back to the sandpaper letters if they need practice with a particular letter.
Good luck!
ravens_mum's Avatar ravens_mum 03:08 PM 11-01-2010
Sapphire, I'm in the same predicament. I ordered sandpaper letter cards for my 30 mo dd. I tried taking her finger and tracing it over the letter in the direction of the arrow but she is not interested.

To be honest, I find that a lot of the materials that I ordered are sitting on the shelves because I seem to be introducing them incorrectly. Lilliana's response to OP just drove that home.

When I asked her school for guidance, they told me that there are very specific ways to introduce and work with each material and basically, that I should leave it to them...big letdown.

Anyone have any recommendations on book(s) that tell you how to introduce the materials in an easy, concise way?
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 04:14 PM 11-01-2010
If she's in school, I'd just leave your home items where she can explore them. I know that the first stage in introducing any material is that the child has had a chance to see it and get used to it (so at home, she could just play with it as long as she was gentle, at school she could explore it on the shelf, but not select it as a work until she had a lesson). By the time a lesson comes around, all the fingering and exploring of the work as an object should be taken care of so the child isn't distracted when it's time to consider the work as an activity.

Where I went wrong is I thought that since dd has magnetic letters and has played with felt in the past, letters made out of felt would be familiar enough that she'd be ready to learn an activity with them without exploring them as objects.

(On the subject of treating materials gently, in "The Montessori Method" one of the things MM writes about with joy is the pleasure of seeing a small child build the pink tower oh-so-carefully, admire his work for several minutes....and then knock it over ! My impression was that she felt that having the choice to knock over the tower was an important aspect to doing the work.)
ravens_mum's Avatar ravens_mum 12:21 PM 11-02-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
If she's in school, I'd just leave your home items where she can explore them. I know that the first stage in introducing any material is that the child has had a chance to see it and get used to it (so at home, she could just play with it as long as she was gentle, at school she could explore it on the shelf, but not select it as a work until she had a lesson). By the time a lesson comes around, all the fingering and exploring of the work as an object should be taken care of so the child isn't distracted when it's time to consider the work as an activity.

Where I went wrong is I thought that since dd has magnetic letters and has played with felt in the past, letters made out of felt would be familiar enough that she'd be ready to learn an activity with them without exploring them as objects.

(On the subject of treating materials gently, in "The Montessori Method" one of the things MM writes about with joy is the pleasure of seeing a small child build the pink tower oh-so-carefully, admire his work for several minutes....and then knock it over ! My impression was that she felt that having the choice to knock over the tower was an important aspect to doing the work.)
OK, so I went completely wrong by putting the materials on her highest shelf which she can't reach. My reasoning was to keep her from thinking of them in the same vein as toys that she carries around the house and does whatever with. The shelf is next to her table and chairs so I imagined the materials should only be brought out when she and I sit down together and work with them.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 04:07 PM 11-02-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ravens_mum View Post
OK, so I went completely wrong by putting the materials on her highest shelf which she can't reach. My reasoning was to keep her from thinking of them in the same vein as toys that she carries around the house and does whatever with. The shelf is next to her table and chairs so I imagined the materials should only be brought out when she and I sit down together and work with them.
Eh, if it keeps you sane, have a set "school time" each day. But bring out all the materials and let her explore all of them. (One at a time, put away the first before taking out the second. Er, I mean, you take them all out (cupboard with doors you can open would be great), but she only works with one at a time, putting each back in its place.)

That's how I handle stuff that's a nuisance to clean up or is fragile. E.g. the sand table isn't always available, we go and play with that once a day. Painting can be done any time, but she has to ask me about it, so I can set her up in the bath tub and not have paint poured hither and thither. Washable markers are available all the time, Sharpies have to be requested and she has to help find cardboard to draw on. My phone is only a toy when I'm ready to supervise more closely.
mamadebug's Avatar mamadebug 04:17 AM 11-08-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
She either isn't ready for them at all, or I'm going about presenting them totally wrong.
I posted earlier on your other sandpaper letter thread and then saw this one. From your signature, it looks like your DD just turned 2. She is probably too young. There is a lot of sensorial work that would prepare her before sandpaper letters are introduced. Work like rough and smooth boards, rough and smooth tablets, thermic tablets, and the fabric box/game would help prepare her finger tips and tactile sense for sandpaper letters.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 03:50 PM 11-08-2010
Y'know, I was planning on making them when she turned 3. Then she ignored all my lovely fabric samples and smooth and rough boards* in favor of demanding "abcs!!" And then I realized she knows 95% her letter names and 90% of the sounds. And that she keeps wanting me to do writing for her to see, and then she pretends to write too.

So I decided this was a good window for introducing the sandpaper letters--while she has a specific interest in the topic. And when she'd be extra happy about getting letters.

When I put them out, she asked to play "letters game", so I tried showing her tracing again, and she did it this time. Obviously, at this point she slips off the letter a lot (motor control in general is not so hot at this age ), but she self-corrects back onto the letter. She's quite good at gentle thanks to petting cats from 4 months on.

At this point, I figure it's all for fun, she'll likely lose interest in a month or so, and then I'll pack them away for later.

*She used them for a bit, got to identifying smooth, rough, bumpy, soft, and then moved to touching and labeling other things.
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