The Explosion into Reading in the Kindergarten Year
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
During their three years in the Primary classroom the children move from verbal language to the written word; first by expressing their own thoughts in writing and then by reading the thoughts of others. Dr. Montessori called this The Explosion into Reading.
Their practice includes:
- Verbal activities provide the foundation for writing and reading
- Learning the sounds and the symbols of the letters through the Sandpaper Letters (associating the sound with the symbol)
- Building words with the move-able alphabet (sounding out the words and independently building phonetic words). The child’s first expression of writing.
- Doing Left to Right work in Practical Life
These activities form the foundation for reading, the children practice with these materials in a variety of lessons: objects with pictures, story telling, classification, patterning and more.
The hard work of learning to read has a magical element in Montessori. At first you can’t– and then you can– and then – the thoughts of others are open to you!
Moving on to the 3rd year – Kindergarten
Generally, during the third year of a primary Montessori we encourage parents to look for
The explosion into reading
It is as if a light bulb has been switched on in their brain
It’s not just the work towards fluency and comprehension that keeps the children busy, the lessons continues with:
- The foundation of grammar: nouns, articles, adjectives and verbs, etc,
- Perfecting print writing
- Perfecting cursive handwriting
- Building sentences
- Adding capitalization and punctuation
- Writing stories
- And so much more
The work is ready for them on the shelf, the Kindergarten students know how to complete a lesson and move on to the next lesson, independently. The students do not always need to wait for teacher direction.
The environment has helped them to make independent choices.
The classroom is organized such that all of the writing supplies, paper, and activity are on the shelf, in the drawer, they can independently start their own work and continue moving forward.
The Role of the Montessori Guide in the Explosion into Reading
Carefully trained to assist the kindergarten, the Montessori Guide knows this kindergartener well, as she has been working with the child now for more than two years.
This time together has enabled the Guide to understand how the child learns, what sparks her interest as well as how to motivate her.
Each student works at his or her own pace, there is no need for competition; individuality is encouraged and supported with all of the children in the community.
The teacher, when she begins to work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.
She must free herself from all preconceived ideas concerning the levels at which the children may be. The many different types of children…must not worry her…
The teacher must believe that this child before her will show his true nature when he finds a piece of work that attracts him.
So what must she look out for?
That one child or another will begin to concentrate.
—Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, p. 276
For more on the Explosion into Reading in Montessori Kindergarten:
Main Street Montessori School of Silicon Valley