In this paper, we develop a framework to obtain approximate numerical solutions to ordinary differential equations (ODEs) involving fractional order derivatives using Legendre wavelet approximations. The properties of Legendre wavelets are first presented. These properties are then utilized to reduce the fractional ordinary differential equations (FODEs) to the solution of algebraic equations. Illustrative examples are included to demonstrate the validity and applicability of the technique. Results show that this technique can solve the linear and nonlinear fractional ordinary differential equations with negligible error compared to the exact solution. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.