The Montessori Language Arts curriculum is an integrated approach that combines phonetics and whole language. Children are first introduced to the sounds of each letter using the well-loved Montessori Sandpaper Letters. Once several sounds are mastered, they can begin to write and read words by linking the sounds together.
Phonemic awareness (i.e., sound games) is an incredibly important aspect of learning to read and write, and essentially provides the foundation for more advanced work. A Montessori classroom is well-equipped with a wealth of Language Arts materials to inspire young children and spark an interest in Language Arts. Parents are always asking for activity ideas that they can implement at home to follow up with what is being taught at Montessori preschool. I have included a list of activities below that might be helpful for continuing to encourage their child's growing love of reading and writing!
Sound Awareness: Montessori Language Activity Ideas for Parents to Use at Home
Reinforce lowercase letters and phonetic soundsAlways teach and reinforce lower case letters (not capitals) as well as the phonetic sounds of each letter (not the actual name). In reading it is the ‘sounds’ that count.
I SpyDevelop sound awareness by playing “I Spy” … I spy with my little eye something that starts with the sound ‘h’… Your child needs to search around the house and find an object that begins with that sound (hat).
Promote writing via a dry erase or chalkboardIf your child has begun to write at school, provide your child with a dry erase board or chalkboard; they love using the eraser brush. They can practice forming letters over and over again!
Read nursery rhymesRead and reread favorite nursery rhymes together to reinforce the patterns of the language, like tongue twisters or other forms of language play.
Go Fish card gameWrite the letter sounds on cards. Ask “do you have a /__/?” (say the sound) For example, “do you have an /s/?” No, go fish; yes, hand it over!
Catching “Sound Butterflies”Cut out index cards or cardstock in the shape of butterflies and write a letter on each one. Give your child a small net so they can catch the specified sound butterflies. For example: “let’s see if you can catch the “f” butterfly.”
Focus on rhymingRead favorite poems, songs, and stories over and over again; discuss alliteration and rhyme within them.
Collecting “Sound Cars”Cut out index cards or cardstock in the shape of cars and write a letter on each. The child collects the sound car when they say the correct sound written on it!
Sound fishingCollect metal lids from jars (no sharp edges, please) and label each lid with a different letter sound. You can also cut index cards or cardstock in the shape of fish instead, attach a paperclip, and write a different letter on each. Then provide the child with a magnetic fishing rod (a stick, string ,and magnet) and sing the following song to the tune of Farmer in the Dell. The child should “catch” the requested letter.
A fishing we will go, a fishing we will go
Please catch a “p” from our Sound Pond
And then please let it go!
Sound BingoMake bingo cards with 3x3 or 4x4 grids, with the letters your child needs to practice written in each square. Then call out a letter sound (not the letter name). For example: “do you have /s/? Do you have /m/?” Use the sound tiles, or make bingo chips with the letters printed on them. The child must find and match the correct sound tile or chip to the correct bingo square while saying the correct sound.
Sound HopscotchAll you need is an energetic child and some sidewalk chalk! Write different sounds in each square, and have child say each sound as they hop onto it.
Magnetic lettersEncourage children to play with magnetic letters and to explore letter/sound relations.
Focus on syllablesCount the syllables in various words by clapping or using other body movements (jumping, stomping, dancing)… but- ter- fly. The child can also play basic percussion/ rhythm instruments to reinforce each syllables.
Journal EntriesProvide children with journals (interlined notebooks) in which they can draw a picture and create a story about it. For a younger child, the teacher can write the story, and the child simply traces over the letters. For an older child who knows their sounds, he/she can try and sound out the story on their own. Journals are such a wonderful keepsake!
Read, read, and read some moreThe more you read to children, the better equipped they will be to identify the sounds in words, to build words on their own, and to begin the reading process.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.