Phonetic Sounds

Learn how to introduce your child to phonetic sounds using the Montessori Sandpaper Letters.

The Montessori Three Period Name Lesson

Watch how the Montessori Three Period Name Lesson works.

Many of the Sensorial, Math, Language, and Culture activities in a Montessori setting are introduced using the, ‘Three Period Name Lesson.’ This method is designed to introduce and help children retain new vocabulary.Ideally, this approach should be used more as an assessment tool rather than being the sole means for teaching new concepts. Instead, provide your child with memorable experiences that provide practical uses of each novel concept. Doing this will help them better retain the new vocabulary.


In the first period of the lesson, names of objects are introduced in isolation using concrete examples.For instance, phonetic sounds can be introduced using a material known as the Sandpaper Letters. The phonetic sound of each letter can be introduced by placing the Sandpaper Letter in front of your child in isolation, then stating the sound of the letter.


After your child has finished the first period, they move on to recognizing and associating the sound with its concrete form. All the concrete materials from the first period are placed in front of your child. Then they’re asked to  recognize the sound of the letter. For instance, they may be asked to point to the letter. Correctly doing so shows that they have successfully recognized and associated the object name to its concrete form.The time it takes to complete this period is dependent on each child’s development. For younger children (2 ½ to 3-years-old), I would typically spend no more than 2-5 minutes in this period, gradually increasing the time frame as they grow older. 


After assessing your child’s ability to identify and associate the new concepts, they move on to recall this information. This period is executed regardless of whether your child has mastered Period 2 or not. This is so they grow accustomed to the sequence of the Three Period Name Lesson. In this period, place each Sandpaper Letter in front of your child in isolation and ask them to name it.Correctly stating the sound of each letter after several lessons shows that they have stored the information in their long-term memory.

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