At Global Village Montessori, we use a phonetic approach to writing and reading. Our children are introduced to a few letters at a time to learn the sounds of the letters. We start off with sandpaper letters which have a rough surface of the letter formation. Children learn how letters are formed by tracing the sandpaper letters. Sandpaper letters will provide the child an opportunity to build their muscular and visual memory. Matching letters to objects or pictures is another activity to learn beginning sounds of the letter.
Language learning happens in different learning areas in the Montessori environment, e.g., Practical Life and Sensorial. Working with Practical Life and Sensorial materials helps the children with their concentration skills and hand-eye coordination skills. The materials in these learning areas are indirect preparation for reading and writing for the children.
We encourage children to practice their letter writing in the sand first before writing on the paper. This will help eliminate any frustration that comes with making mistakes on a paper. The children are introduced to metal insets, a series of shapes and frames designed to directly prepare the child's hand for writing. The insets are made of metal making it heavy and sturdy for the child to use.They help strengthen the pincer grip and coordinate the necessary wrist movement for writing. These are the core materials in our curriculum that give our children a good foundation for reading and writing.
According to Maria Montessori’s research, a child is able to build words before they develop the need to control a pencil. Once the children are confident with the letter sounds, we will gradually introduce them to the Montessori Moveable Alphabets. Movable alphabets are individual wooden letters which allow the child to build their words. This is a process of “coding” of the words. Reading or “decoding” of the words is more abstract for the young children. Before they become confident and fluent readers, they are introduced to build the words phonetically.
As an extension of our phonics program, our children are introduced to primary phonics early reading programs. This program facilitates individualized instruction through flexible, skills-based workbooks and storybooks that correspond to students’ ability levels. This series builds essential literacy skills including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and comprehension. Easy to read and engaging themes motivate children to enjoy reading. This series gives child a sense of accomplishment as they read storybooks on their own from the very beginning of instruction.