Whole Language Approach to Reading
The Montessori environment is rich in language. Whether through conversation or language games the young child is surrounded by vocabulary and the sounds of the English Language. At our schools we use a phonetic approach to writing and reading. Phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing by developing the ability to hear and identify sounds of the English language.
The Montessori Approach to Early Education prepares children for word composition and reading through the use of our curriculum materials in five areas of the classroom. For the young child Practical Life offers practice, not only of body and hand coordination but focus and concentration as well.The Sensorial area develops discrimination of shapes and sounds through the children’s deep practice with the hands-on material. These are two areas where a three year old child would focus their attention as they grow in their ability to make a sound-symbol recognition. During this time period they are working with the Sandpaper Letters to learn the shape and sound of each letter, hearing that words are made up of sounds, and refining their ability to hear a particular sound in the front, end, and middle of a word. This is the time when you may hear them repeating sounds as they say the word, “b,b,b, baby.”
Reading skills normally develop so smoothly in Montessori classrooms that children tend to “explode into reading.” They often begin to read back their own writing, their own thoughts, and then soon enough they are sounding out the words of others and reading books. Montessori teachers are trained to teach the young children parts of speech in very meaningful and interactive ways. One favorite work in the class is reading of action words (verbs.) Children can read and perform actions like, jump, eat, dust, and mop. Soon enough they are diagramming sentences and understanding the ‘job’ of each word in a sentence. The children will naturally expand these new skills to interpret the world around them and to develop reading fluency skills.