Alphabet Books - Montessori Family Favourites + What To Look For
What do you look for when choosing a good alphabet book? It's most important that the book is engaging, attractive to the child so they will want to read it and so they will interact with it! Calling to the child, sparking an interest, igniting a desire, these all come first for me. Things to remember when choosing an alphabet book from a Montessori point of view include:
- age appropriateness - this is particularly important when looking at the objects on each page.
- lower case letters - in Montessori we teach lower case before upper case letters.
- phonics-based - we teach reading using phonics, we say the sound of the letter when we read it but we also want the objects highlighted to be phonetically correct.
- reality-based - life life illustrations of objects and items that the child can relate to, avoiding fantasy at this age.
- beautiful - we want the book to be engaging and attractive to the child.
Here are a few Alphabet Books that are favourites with Montessori families and a few more that my toddler and I enjoy at home.
Montessori Letter Work by Bobby and June George. This is one of our favourites and has been used by all three of my children. It has textured letters with a slight sandpaper feel. It is all in lower case. This is a very sturdy board book. With only one image per letter it's easy for a toddler to follow. My toddler likes the pages at the back which contain all of the letters, we can point to and feel the letters that he knows.
The Red Letter Alphabet Book by Ellen C. Gould. Includes textured (felt like) letters in lower case. The images are realistic illustrations of everyday objects. Includes a pronunciation guide of phonetic sounds and suggestions for use.
Around the World from a to z by Christina Cheung and Han Tran. This book uses cursive which is a bonus for many Montessori families. On one page there is a lightly textured sandpaper letter in cursive and on the right is the illustration and story, as pictured above. The story takes the reader to locations around the world which is such a nice touch for young children but is too advanced for my toddler to follow. I would recommend for 3-5 years +.
DK My First ABC. This is a board book which I love for my toddler, it has the upper case and lower case letter on each page. The images are clear and photographic.
A is for Apple (Trace and Flip) Board Book by Tiger Tales. This is nice and simple which is attractive and easy to follow. We love the little flaps on each page which, reveal another object underneath. I like the tactile, cut out letters for the child to feel but this is on the capital letters only.
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert (top) and Mrs Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet by Mrs Peanuckle (bottom). Both of these are fun board books with lots of colour and abstract illustrations.
The Icky Bug Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta. We have the board book version and it's perfect for toddlers who love bugs. It contains just the right amount of information for young children. So far I've loved all of Jerry Pallotta's alphabet books and he has one on almost every subject. This is so lovely and I highly recommend for insect, nature-loving children.
Photographic Non-Fiction Prereader Readers. These are not officially alphabet books and are currently only available in a set, but I still love and recommend them. Each book covers seven letters and has an object for each letter. The reason I like these so much is because each book is on a different topic and the images are all photographic. The books are also short which is good for my toddler.
The Sea Mammal Alphabet by Jerry Pallotta. This is another lovely alphabet book by Jerry Pallotta. This one we have as a paperback and the illustrations are captivating and engaging. There is a lot to learn in Jerry's alphabet books, far more than learning letters. Highly recommend for ocean, beach, nature loving children.
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