The Montessori language 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. What can parents do at home? 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 below a list of activities that might be helpful.
Fun Montessori Language Arts Activity Ideas Parents Can Use at HomeSound Awareness, Writing and Reading Ideas
- Reinforce Lowercase Letters and Phonetic Sounds: Always 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 Spy: Develop 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 Board: If your child has begun to write at school, let your child write on a dry erase board … they love the dry erase markers and eraser brush. They can practice forming letters over and over again!
- Use a Chalkboard: Similar to a dry erase board, the child can practice forming their letters, and creating words. The best part is that they can erase their letters with an eraser brush and start all over again.
- Excellent website: Great games and activities to help your child read and write: http://www.readinglesson.com/
- “Fishing for Sounds”: Cut out index cards or cardstock in the shape of fish. Write the letter(s) on the fish. Then request a specific fish……let’s see if you can catch the ‘sss’ (sound) fish. Your child ‘catches’ the fish that has the letter written on it. NOTE: You can even make a magnetic ‘fishing pole’ (a stick, string and magnet) and on each fish, place a paper clip that can be “caught” using the magnetic fishing rod.
- Read Nursery Rhymes: Read and reread favorite nursery rhymes to reinforce the patterns of the language and enjoy tongue twisters and other forms of language play together.
- “Go Fish” Card Game: Write the sounds on the cards. Have the child ask “do you have a /__/” (say the sound). For example “Do you have a /s/?” No, go fish! Yes, hand it over!
- Catching “Sound Butterflies”: Cut out the index cards or cardstock in the shape of butterflies. Write the letter(s) on the ‘butterflies’. Give your child a small net and let them ‘catch’ the specified “sound butterflies”. For example, “let’s see if you can catch me the “f” butterfly.
- Focus on Rhyming: Read favorite poems, songs, and stories over and over again and discuss alliteration and rhyme within them.
- Collecting “Sound Cars”: Cut out the index cards or cardstock in the shape of cars. Write the letter(s) on the cars. The child collects the sound cars when he says the correct sound!
- Magnetic Sound Fishing: Collect metal lids from jars (no sharp edges, please) and label each lid with a different sound/letter. Then provide the child with a magnetic fishing rod and sing the following song to the tune of Farmer in the Dell. The child should “catch” the requested sound/letter.
Please catch a “p” from our Sound Pond
And then please let it go!
- “Sound Bingo”: Make bingo cards with 3x3 or 4x4 grids with the letter(s) your child needs to practice written on the squares. Then call out the sounds (not letter names). For example, do you have /s/, do you have /m/, etc. 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 bingo chip to the correct bingo square. AND of course the child must always say the correct sound!
- ‘Sound Hopscotch’… All you need is an energetic child and some sidewalk chalk! Write different sounds in each square and have child say the sound as they hop on a square.
- Magnetic Letters: Encourage children to play with magnetic letters and to explore letter/sound relations.
- Focus on Syllables: Count the syllables in various words by clapping or using other body movements (jumping, stomping, dancing)………but- ter- fly. Another idea is for the child to play basic percussion/ rhythm instruments to reinforce the various syllables.
- Read, read and read some more: The 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.
- Journal Entries: Provide 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!