The Montessori classroom provides a language rich environment from which the child is able to absorb information. While lessons within the curriculum areas and adult interactions nurture language growth, they also simultaneously form a foundation for future reading. We are able to provide the tools necessary for the child to form his own thoughts as he progresses through the stages of writing. Therefore, it is recognized that writing precedes reading. In order to write, a child must analyze and decode his own word or thought. Reading on the other hand, presents an entirely new process. Here, the child is first required to synthesize outside information, followed by analyzation and decoding of information before putting it back together again. As we refer to the teaching of reading, one must also remember that reading is to be taught in totality. That is, a child must not only be able to decode words, but we also strive to cultivate his understanding of meaning, thought, and expression conveyed by an author. The Montessori teacher facilitates this process by providing the child ‘keys’ for learning.
|Reading practice with the Phonetic Object Box lesson.|
|Word building with the phonogram '-ow.'|
|The 'Conjunction' lesson with grammar symbols.|
The importance of books in the classroom should not be neglected. The modeling of correct treatment of books is emphasized in the Montessori classroom. Children are taught how to properly handle books and carefully turn pages. The teacher should also take care to provide an array of books with varying degrees of reading levels. Introducing a variety of literature is a positive reinforcement not only to the Language curriculum, but also to the development of the child’s ability to read.
Reading should be regarded as an extension of one’s speech. Teaching methods for learning to read can be adapted and enriched to maintain a child’s interest and desire to read. Reading is an integrated process involving language experience, interrelated skills, phonetic instruction, and analyzation. It is also a culmination of a child’s curious mind responding to the adult’s enthusiastic approach to the teaching of total reading.