Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beginning Reading

All Montessori schools have different ways of teaching children how to read.  This was one area that has been developed over time as Dr. Montessori herself was Italian and the language is primarily phonetic.  English has some phonetic components but of course has many influences.  Many Montessori schools begin in a similar way, with the metal insets (preparing the hand for writing- Dr. Montessori felt writing often came before reading) and the sandpaper letters.  We also use other phonemic awareness activities to make sure the child understands the sounds of some letter before beginning to work with the Moveable Alphabet (another Montessori material).  In our school, we follow a specific sequence to ensure there are no "holes" in the child's knowledge.  As my trainer in England used to say, "a scarf is a scarf but would you rather have one with lots of holes or no holes!"  We prefer no holes.  One of our children has moved on to the beginning of their reading sequence with our specially prepared materials.  Here she is using a box with small 3 letter phonetic objects (c-v-c) and "building" words with the Moveable Alphabet.  She would sound out the word and place the letters next to the objects.  (All of the words in this box have the short /a/ vowel.  I am a speech pathologist as well and have noticed some vowel confusion in the past so I prepared these materials with 5 boxes, one for each short vowel.) 
After building all six words, this child then wrote them down on a piece of paper, she was very proud! We will move on to the other boxes with the other vowels and then continue on. 

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