Friday, March 20, 2009

Montessori Reading: Make a Book

As a follow up to the post below, a wonderful way to introduce children to books is to make one together!

After you introduce your child to several Sandpaper Letters (see post below), create a book with the letters written in red or blue, depending on whether they are vowels or consonants.

Take several sheets of large format art paper, fold the pages in half, put in three holes, and weave yarn through the holes. Now write the letters on the pages -- use Century Gothic font because letters such as "a" are written as they are shown in the Sandpaper Letter set (the top part of the "a" does not have the hook on it like it does here in Times Roman).

Voila! Your child's own book Now he or she can write on the book or create new pages and books on his or her own. Younger children will enjoy using a crayon or colored pencil and making shapes far before they can actually make the letters, so let your child enjoy the experience and gain a love of learning without worrying about how the letters look now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to Start Teaching Your Child to Read?

Start with the sounds of the letters using the Montessori Sandpaper Letters (shown above). Using your pointer and index fingers, lightly trace the letter in the direction in which it is written as you say the sound.

When your child has mastered the sounds of the letters using the Sandpaper Letters, introduce the Movable Alphabet (shown above). Short CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words such as "man" and "mat" are the first words your child should learn to read because they are natural extensions of the letter sounds.

What to avoid? You do not need to introduce the ABCs right away and be careful of products that propose teaching your child to read through a special method or souped up phonics! Good old-fashioned letter sounds and basic words is the way to start. In the Montessori classroom, children begin working with the Sandpaper Letters around the age of two and a half or three years of age. Typically, children will be able to read and write short words by the age of three and a half or four.

The most important thing at this age is to introduce a love of reading, so there is no replacement for bedtime stories and other family book times.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Adolescent Health and Development

While our primary focus at Montessori House is on younger children, the Montessori approach to education extends through the high school years.

We found this excellent free course online at Johns Hopkins University's Open Course site that focuses on adolescent health and development! You can start learning on your own for free here.