Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reading Development in Montessori

FOCUS ON THE KEYS - reading is not a curriculum or a tedious chore, but communicating with oneself and with others. It is a connection between people without spoken word.

At all ages, give the children life experiences so that they have something to write about.

Reading aloud: At primary and most of lower elementary, children learning to read should NOT be expected to read aloud - we give "commands" (such as "get a mat") and see if they have read it correctly because they have followed the command correctly. This is a fantastic game to play with all children learning to read - especially giving them "commands" they would not normally get to do ("run in the hall", "step on a mat", "share a sweet with a pal"). If you want children to read aloud, give them plenty of time to read it on their own first - and come to you when they are ready. 


Primary: Children will *write* before they will read.

Keys at primary:
  • language games 
  • sandpaper letters
  • movable alphabet (wood)
  • sandpaper phonograms (digraphs, blends)
  • puzzle words
  • phonogram cards
  • 3-part cards in areas of interest (4-part cards, definition cards, definition strips are extensions)
  • From there, reading has developed and further materials are used in reading analysis and applying that reading to other areas of life and learning: word study, science explorations, geography, music, mathematics, parts of speech, function of words, punctuation


Elementary: Children just learning to read in elementary, typically *read* simultaneously with writing. We have remedial reading and writing to give a new child to elementary who does not have these skills, so that they can function within the classroom. We do not withhold cosmic education from them - we introduce all other aspects of the classroom despite the lack of reading skills.

Keys at elementary:
  • grammar boxes
  • sentence analysis
  • good literature from which to pull samples (no worksheets here!)
  • Age 8: begin reading aloud during family read-aloud time
  • UPPER ELEMENTARY: Can be reading aloud frequently - dramatic tellings, speeches, reports.



Remediation: If a child does not learn to read by the age of 5, the next most natural window is 8-9.

At these moments (either 4-5 1/2 or 8-9), learning to read will progress quickly from little/no skills to at least a 3rd grade reading level in a matter of weeks, sometimes days. 5th or 6th grade reading level can be expected in less than a year of learning to read. Children CAN learn to read at other time-frames, but it will be more tedious and easily thwarted.

  • Keep it light, keep it interesting. 
  • Reading should NOT be a chore. 
  • Think 3-5 short bursts (5-10 minutes TOPS) of practice throughout the day, instead of 30 minutes all at once. 
  • Do not withhold other subjects or hold back in other subjects due to lack of reading ability. 
  • Interest and practicality fuel reading ability and desire. 
  • Let them go ahead to something harder when they need to - this can encourage them to want to continue learning to read. 
  • Turn off technology until the child is a confident reader. 
  • Continue other studies as normal, including language studies. 
  • Continue reading aloud to all children. 


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