I feel a bit of a scam even writing this post. I do not think I have the Montessori reading curriculum figured out. I know what it is *supposed* to be. I am following it the best I can with Caleb, but he's so early in the process it's hard to know if I'm really doing things to his ultimate advantage. I completely abandoned Montessori reading with Aidan after his rough 4 & 5 year old years (see Language Part 2) and went back to what I felt more comfortable with (more or less drill and practice on sight words, memorization of sounds/rules, and lots of painful word sounding out). Now, I'm trying to pick it back up to do reading analysis and comprehension activities with him. What has happened in our house is unlikely to be useful to someone else and may or may not even work! I certainly can't recommend our approach.
That being said, learn from my mistakes. Choose something and stick with it. Be consistent.
My plan from here on out is to follow the Montessori approach to reading, starting with sound and writing activities. From there we will move into the pink/blue/green series word lists and picture matches. My Boy's Teacher has some excellent examples of pink series work. Each series becomes increasingly more difficult.
For a more advanced look at reading rules, we are using the Muriel Dwyer cards and word lists. Aidan is currently creating his own reading and spelling dictionary. Yesterday, for example, we worked with the drawer containing all of the long o sounds. There are 4 word booklets for each of the ways to make the long o (oa, ow, 0-e, oe). He labeled the top of a page in his language journal with the words "Long o rules" and then made 4 sections. At the top of each section he wrote a letter combination that makes the sound and then, underneath, listed examples of each. Our spelling curriculum is also arranged by sound rules so we have extra reinforcement there.
For sight words, we use a combination of sight word bingo and simply playing the knock-knock game and memory with flashcards. To play the knock- knock game, turn all of the cards face down and then take turns knocking on the back and asking "Knock-knock". The other player answers, "Who's there?" and then the first player reads the card. If the first player knows the answer he "wins" the card. If he doesn't know it, the second player can "steal" it. If no one knows it, they ask mom and it goes back upside down. I started sight words with Caleb when he started to show interest. I have several envelopes with different "levels" of words.
Now that Aidan is reading real books, he does a certain amount of reading aloud each day. For the most part he chooses his books and topics. I find that he prefers picture books that are more challenging but have a good story/plot to easy readers or Bob books. He isn't quite ready for chapter books (he seems to lack endurance), but we do partner reading (I read a page and then he reads a page) and that works well for longer things. We don't do specific "comprehension" activities, but when he is more comfortable reading longer things by himself and Caleb is also reading better they will do novel studies together (with Tim or I) to discuss what they read.
We study genre by reading. A lot. We talk about fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc as we are reading examples of each. The Book of Virtues has been very helpful in this discussion!
For us, reading is not much of a subject in school beyond simply learning how to read. We believe reading is for learning new things and for enjoyment. We will not ever have a reading textbook. Assigned reading for older kids will be somehow related to something else we are studying. Maybe a novel study on Number The Stars when we are learning about WWII or a book of poetry from a certain region of the world. Whatever we read... and however we read it... I simply want my children to enjoy books as much as I do!