“What says fff? That one? That one?” a boy guessed pointing to different letters from a beginning sound box, laid out on the felt mat. The teacher who was working with him pointed to each letter and asked him what sound each letter made. “Bbbbb. Ffff. Oh yeah!” the little boy exclaimed as he recognized the letter “f” on the mat. The teacher quietly reminded him to work slowly and observed him as he chose each item from the box labeled “bfkli” which indicates which letters are represented in this particular beginning sound box.
The beginning sound boxes came out on the Language shelf the first week of January. Each one has been used each and every day since; the children first sort the intriguing little objects based on what their beginning sounds are and match them to the letters that represent that sound. In the Montessori classroom, we focus on the sound rather than the letter name to avoid confusion as children are learning to read. The beginning sound boxes have reinvigorated the children’s passion for letters after the winter break.