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Montessori Education on Phonics: Learning to Read Is Child’s Play

Guest post by Randall Klein
Assistant Director of Training, Age of Montessori

Moveable Alphabet

In our free webinar Learning to Read is Child’s Play Part 2, Mary Ellen and I give great emphasis to the building or encoding of words with the moveable alphabet. I want to share with our worldwide Montessori friends a simple idea that may bring new life to the trusty Moveable Alphabet box beyond the initial three-letter work.

4 letter short vowel words

 

 

I created a set of 28 cards, each containing a picture of a 4-letter short vowel word, like sled, tent, jump. The child simply chooses the cards with the pictures that interest him and then builds the word by first segmenting the word into phonemes and then choosing the letters necessary to write the word. (Phoneme segmentation is what allows the child to be independent in this work.)

It was always important to me that my students experienced the encoding of 4-letter words, which requires more advanced phoneme segmentation than 3-letter words. Remember, the encoding of words is the best preparation for decoding. And encoding or writing words is an application of the alphabetic principle that activates the left hemisphere and “connects the new visual experience to areas already devoted to speech and comprehension.” [1] It is the left hemisphere that is highly activated in good readers. (Here is a  link to a great article below that explains why encoding is so important.[2])

Build a Word CardMy friend Jan in Denver introduced these cards to her students and got a wonderful response.  She sent me several photos and some great feedback on what the children like about this activity.

Let me know what you think. Would you like to try this activity in your classroom or home?

If so, email me at rklein@ageofmontessori.org and I will email you a pdf file you can print out onto cardstock and introduce to your students. In return, I would be grateful for photos of happy children working with this or other encoding activities and some constructive feedback about making the activity a success.


[1] Herron, Jeannine (2008). Why Phonics Teaching Must Change. The Positive Classroom, 66, 77-91.

SuziRose
Founded by M.Ed. Mary Ellen Maunz, Age of Montessori is committed to delivering the authentic messages of Montessori to parents, grandparents, teachers and future teachers. Visit our site for free webinars hosted by the experts, professional development/parent training, insightful blogs or to begin the next chapter of your life as a Certified Montessori Teacher. Visit http://ageofmontessori.org/about/ to learn more about how we came to be Age Of Montessori

About SuziRose

Founded by M.Ed. Mary Ellen Maunz, Age of Montessori is committed to delivering the authentic messages of Montessori to parents, grandparents, teachers and future teachers. Visit our site for free webinars hosted by the experts, professional development/parent training, insightful blogs or to begin the next chapter of your life as a Certified Montessori Teacher. Visit http://ageofmontessori.org/about/ to learn more about how we came to be Age Of Montessori

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