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The teacher’s first duty is to watch over the environment, and this takes precedence over all the rest. Its influence is indirect, but unless it is well done there will be no effective and permanent results of any kind, physical, intellectual or spiritual. 

4-letter Build a Word card
Child working with the Montessori Movable Alphabet

~ Maria Montessori

A few weeks ago, I started a Do-It-Yourself Montessori Materials blog series.  Many of Montessori’s carefully designed materials can be handmade or purchased inexpensively.  For those who are teaching (or training to teach, click here for more info) using the Montessori Method, the procurement of the essential materials does NOT have to cost a fortune.

In this series, I will post links to helpful websites that I have found, such as The Little List  or Montessori Materials

You can also visit the Age of Montessori website to access their wealth of information via complimentary “white papers”, newsletters and webinars.  Their information rich archives can be accessed here: Age of Montessori resources.

Additionally, I will post instructions for various DIY Montessori Material projects.  This week’s DIY Montessori material is The Movable Alphabet.  Children use The Movable Alphabet to learn word building or encoding, a critical step in learning to read. Word building allows the child to apply his knowledge of sounds (phonemic awareness) and letter mastery (the alphabet).

Please watch this free webinar to learn more about the sequential steps of reading instruction:Learning to Read is Child’s Play.

Make Your Own Montessori Movable Alphabet:


  •   Cardstock
  •   Plastic Bead Organizer with 26 squares that are approximately 1½ inches, horizontally and vertically (Available at most craft stores.)

    Plastic Bead Organizer with 26 squares that are approximately 1½ inches, horizontally and vertically (Available at most craft stores.)
  •   Laminate (Kinkos, Mail & More, etc.)


1.     Print the alphabet (lower case) out on the card stock.  It is recommended that you make vowels a different color than consonants.  Make sure the letters will fit into the squares of your bead organizer.  You want each letter to be as big as your squares will allow.

2.     Use a paper cutter to cut out the letters into individual cards.

3.     Laminate the cards after they have been cut so that they have a sealed edge.

4.     Place the letters, in alphabetical order, into the squares of the bead organizer.

5.     Use the Moveable Alphabet as instructed by Montessori Master Teacher Trainer Randall Klein, in his highly informative article seen HERE.


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