1. Sandpaper Letters: International Print Nienhuis Montessori, 2. Lower Case Sandpaper Letters - Print Montessori Outlet, 3. Outlet Sandpaper Letters Lower Case Absorbent Minds Montessori, 4. Sandpaper Letters - Lower Case Wood Puzzles, 5. Lowercase Tactile Letters Lakeshore Learning Materials, 6. Lowercase sandpaper letters Polliwog Learning Products, 7. Tactile Letters Ideal School Supply, 8. Textured Touch and Trace: Lowercase Manipulatives Key Education, and 9. Tactile Sandpaper Lowercase Letters Didax.
In my opinion every school (and homeschool) should have sandpaper letters. They just make so much sense. They are a really valuable, hands on, tactile, learning tool.
"The child finds great pleasure in touching the sandpaper letters. It is an exercise by which he applies to a new attainment to the power he has already acquired through exercising the sense of touch."
"While the child touches a letter, the teacher pronounces its sound… The child then touches the letters by himself over and over again… and in this way he establishes the movements necessary for tracing the alphabetical signs. At the same time he retains the visual images of the letter. This process forms the preparation, not only for writing but also for reading." - Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook. A Short Guide to Her Ideas and Materials.
There is a difference between Montessori Sandpaper Letters and the alternatives such as tactile letters. Montessori Sandpaper Letters have been very carefully designed to the exact fonts, the texture of the letter and the exact tint of the paint. Montessori materials are very specific, the size, the weight, the materials used, the presence of the letters, they are designed to be attractive to the child and special. Montessori Sandpaper Letters are part of the language materials (are not used in isolation to other materials) and are of a high quality to be used by many children.
While Montessori schools and teachers will use Montessori Sandpaper Letters there are many alternatives that may be useful for a home setting. I think sandpaper letters have value in a non Montessori setting and also as a remedial tool. The tactile letters are made on card not timber (as the Montessori Sandpaper Letters are). The tactile letters are not only more affordable they are lighter and take up much less space.
There are also a couple of alphabet books that feature tactile letters that I have featured here. All of the sandpaper letters pictured above are in print however this is an excellent article on the use of cursive: Cursive handwriting - a dying art or an essential skill?
If you have a child at home learning how to write their letters (as many children are before they start school) sandpaper letters might be for you. I have a set of tactile letters that I will be reviewing on Monday, check back to see how they stand up!