By Ms. Heidi Cole
The process of learning to read with the Montessori Method is phenomenal. However, to get the best results and secured foundation, the child needs to start as early as 2 to 3 years old.
The child will learn the sounds of each letter of the alphabet by tracing the sand paper letter with his/her finger and at the same time saying the sound of the letter. This leaves a deeper impression on the child’s brain.
With the use of ‘movable alphabets’ (wooden letters), consonants in pink and vowels in blue, the child begins to build three letter phonetic words, example, cat, sat, log etc. When this has been mastered the child goes to four letter words and then words that are five letters and up.
When the child is able to read three and four letter words fluently he/she is introduced to simple phonetic readers. Now they start the process of learning blends, digraphs and long vowels. This is started with the use of the “phonogram alphabet”, black and red wooden letters. The red letters depict the blend or long vowel.
The Montessori Method goes from the concrete to the abstract. After working with the wooden letters the child will move on to reading words on paper and matching the words to corresponding pictures. The child will go from phonetic readers to phonogram readers to chapter books. Comprehensive work sheets go along with the books to help the child understand and comprehend what he/she has read.
With the hands on materials in a Montessori classroom, learning to read is exciting for the child. The child sets the pace for learning and most children are reading by age four. It is a wonderful experience to observe the development of a child’s self-esteem and love of learning through reading. A whole new world opens up for the child when he/she can read.