The Montessori classroom is a place where children are given
an early start to their literacy skills. Good reading and
writing skills stem from an environment rich in books,
storytelling and full of opportunities for communication.
Book corner and role play are part of every Montessori
classroom. There is a clear link between early exposure
to books in a supportive environment and later literacy;
simple reading and storytelling form the basis of later
reading, writing and good vocabulary.
Montessori has its own unique reading scheme whereby the children are taught
their alphabet phonetically using Sandpaper Letters. Once the child knows some
sounds they began word building using objects and letters and this progresses
through simple words to more complex ones.
Children in a Montessori environment will be indirectly prepared for writing
through preceding activities from other areas. For example the knobbed cylinders
exercise from the Sensorial area requires the child to use the following skills – pincer
grip, control of the hand, hand-eye coordination. Practical life activities
encourage children to develop concentration which will be needed later when
they are patiently
forming their first letters.
A first material introduced to children as preparation for writing is called “Insets
for Design”; tracking these geometric shapes as many times as they wish
will encourage children to hold the pencil correctly; it also refines the control
and precision of movement. When children are ready to start writing they are
shown the correct way of forming letters and given every opportunity to practice
their new skill.