Language and pre-reading experiences are prominent throughout a Montessori classroom. The children are exposed to a rich and varied vocabulary as they are given names and qualities of objects in all areas of their environment. Classification and patterning work allow children to develop skills in observing and making comparisons, a necessary task used in finding patterns in written language. Lessons are given in sequenced steps which encourages comprehension. Rhyming is used in songs at gatherings and listening games like, ” I spy,” to enhance auditory skills needed for analyzing sounds in written language. Many materials involve using a three finger grip which is indirect preparation for writing. Interpersonal communication is also highly evident as the children are constantly engaged in active conversation.
Using a phonetic and multi-sensory approach, the phonetic sounds of letters are introduced through a material consisting of 26 Sandpaper Letters. As children trace a letter, they see the shape, feel it, and hear its sound. Sandpaper Letters combine muscular memory with auditory and visual senses. When a child learns an assortment of sounds, he begins building words using The Moveable Alphabet. In time, the “synthesis of sounds” or blending that leads to actual reading, occurs. Children are introduced to writing through Metal Inset Work which helps control the lightness of touch and allows a child to gain control of the pencil through an enjoyable and progressive work.
The language area includes material and activity rich in vocabulary, word analysis, writing and reading. The child follows a sequence of work material learning phonetic sounds, word building with phonetic sounds, communicating through written language and eventually reading. Each child demonstrates individual readiness skills in the language area.