Reading this sentence probably seems effortless to you now, but once upon a time, you didn’t know that these symbols were letters which formed words and that words could be communicated both verbally and on a page. Like a secret code! There is SO much complexity to reading and writing. And YOUR child is learning how to do it at 3 years old! How? Here is a short run down on the materials and lessons your child engages in at Sunrise using the Montessori curriculum.
Step #1: Learning that the letter “a” is the ah sound with Sandpaper Letters
Children at a Montessori school learn to write before they learn to read. They start this journey learning the letter sounds using sandpaper letters, which incorporate the sense of touch to further reinforce learning. They trace the letter with their fingers on a textured sandpaper inscription of the letter (see above) as they say the sound of the letter out loud (first modeled by their teacher), learning the strokes used eventually to write that letter on paper. Children who learn to read and write in a Montessori environment do not learn the names of letters until much later. They instead learn the sounds of letters first.
Check out our short VIDEO on Sandpaper Letters at https://sunrise-montessori.com/what-is-the-montessori-method/maria-montessori-classroom.
Step #2: Learning how to write by tracing shapes
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that understanding should come before memorization, and that if one was to fully develop an appreciation for language, we must first start with letter sounds, which is why children learn to write before they learn to read. Writing is a hands-on process, and children are naturally more inclined to learn when they do so with all the learning methods, visually, auditorily and kinesthetically. In the Montessori classroom, children develop hand strength early on during activities that encourage use of the “pincer grip”, which is why we have the children use colored pencils with the Metal Insets (see pic). They are building up their finger muscles so that they can write letters. We also have other materials that help with learning how to write letters as they advance, which are shown above.
Step #3: Pairing letters and sounds with objects or pictures
My favorite language materials are the ones that allow a child to pair letter sounds or words with objects! You can see that light bulb come on when they hold a miniature flower in their hand and then place it on the letter “f” (see above). All that work a child has put it in FINALLY has real meaning! And to them, it’s like a game.
Step #4: Forming words with letters
Once they master letters sounds with letters and objects, they move on to the next stage, forming words with letters. Their teacher will place three letters that form a word in front of them, like cat. You can hear them phonetically say each letter sound out loud and then take a picture of a cat from a group of pictures and place it on those letters. Bingo! Another connection made in the tapestry of reading! Once a child has mastered that achievement, she’ll be shown the moveable alphabet, which will allow her to easily put letters together, sounding them out to spell simple, then progressively more complex, words. The moveable alphabet allows children to begin “writing”—even before they develop the fine-motor skills to control a pencil.
Check out our short VIDEO on the Moveable Alphabet or the Pink Material at https://sunrise-montessori.com/what-is-the-montessori-method/maria-montessori-classroom.
Step #5: Writing words and sentences plus reading short books
The final step in reading is journaling (see above). We provide journals for our students to tell a story! They use coloring pencils to create a picture, then use a regular pencil to write what is happening below. Once they reach this stage, they can read Bob Books and other beginning reader materials.
You can help your child foster their love of language by reading them books before bedtime. As they begin to learn how to read, you can ask them to sound out one word, then read a sentence, and finally read to you or a younger sibling. Letter magnets for your fridge is another fun way to ask your child to show you what they can do! Your child has the ability to learn how to read and write grade levels above Kindergarten before they even start elementary school. With your child’s hard work, the teachers at Sunrise Montessori, and your encouragement at home, only the sky is the limit to your child’s academic future.
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!