In traditional classrooms, they often teach writing and reading the opposite way that Montessori does. Traditionally, children can expect to learn to read before the learn to write. However, in a Montessori classroom, writing is taught before reading.
In Montessori, the reading process begins with writing – one letter at a time, one sound at a time. Montessori teachers are encouraged to use sandpaper letters to help children learn to write, engaging many of the child’s senses; touch, sight, and sound.
The child begins writing with cursive, the easy flow and connectivity of the letters allows the child to easily learn the letters and write them simultaneously. Once a child has mastered several letters (around 10 to 12), they can begin using writing utensils to learn cursive. It’s typically easier for the child to begin writing on a chalkboard and then eventually moving to pencil and paper.
Because the child has become familiar with the sounds of letters, they are beginning to put words together as they write. This makes it easier for them to identify words when they’re learning to read, as well. In Montessori, the teacher uses cards to help the child learn to identify words, read, and classify.
Once the child begins to understand reading, their teacher may suggest moving them into the “reading analysis & interpretive reading” phase. This is where the child is able to begin reading sentences and stories!
Maria Montessori observed that the child “rapidly acquires” language from their birth until they are six years old. She encourages using the child’s senses to help them learn the necessary skills, making it fun! Less like “work” and more like “play” (but there’s more about that in another blog post).
For now, if you have any stories about your child learning to read or write – we would love to hear about them in the comments!