Do you know what I've learned about learning to read over the years?
I've learned it is not about having the perfect curriculum or spending a certain number of minutes reading every day. Don't get me wrong, those things are important, but to learn to read kids really need to OWN the letters. They need to interact with them again and again in as many different ways as possible. They need to experiment as letter scientists, fully immersed in their work!
This has been a part of what mainstream education calls a print rich environment for many, many years. Learning about Montessori, however, has opened my eyes to a whole new level of interactions. Not just using the materials, but interacting with letters & sounds in new and interesting ways to explore the ways they all relate together to make something new.
In a Montessori classroom this might look like a child observing an older student using the materials in an advanced way and self-motivating to learn the skills necessary for a new activity. In the Montessori home, it is my job as teacher-mommy-guide to sometimes provide inspiration for new activities. Lately I have been focusing on bringing Kylee back to materials for extra practice with a new twist to maintain interest and deepen her understanding.
For this activity we simply made piles of beginning, middle, and end sounds and then she chose one from each pile and did a crayon rubbing of each letter to "write" her word. Some of her words made sense and some did not, but she was able to read each word as she selected the letters and blended them together...literally.