There are enough children in the world that do not learn language easily and smoothly. I have known droves of children who could quickly move ahead in reading. They made jumps in a single day. Some of my own children could do that, some could not. Because my oldest daughter really struggled to learn to read it has become very important for me to learn how to break the Montessori language program down in a way that it will fill in those gaps. There are plenty of children who enter my life every year who also struggle to learn reading. I want such a challenge to be beatable. These children need explicit instruction and it is our challenge to do that in such a way that compliments a Montessori, self learning style. You can never tell which rules someone will get quickly, and which have to be broken down. It varies so widely.
What I have been looking for is something that truly scaffold skills. Since all the reading programs we have purchased and tried are either missing too much, do not build skills on each other, or do not follow a coherent pattern I have decided to do it myself. I do not in any way believe I am remotely finished with updates and changes to the program, but this is a great start!
The groupings have changed significantly from any of my previous work. I have reference the Orton-Gilligham sequence as well as several other well known programs. I have tried to stay close to the OG method while still making allowances for the needs of this program. Because of the scaffolding nature of this sequence it would be very tricky to find images if we stayed purely with the OR sequence so there had to be some changes made.
First I should like to bring to your attention the way in which all the parts of the program are used. For each difficulty there are 6 steps. NOTICE that the difficulty is isolated in red.
#1 - Picture to Word Cards: using this work the child matches all the picture cards to the corresponding word card. There is a control of error on the back of each card for the self checking. When checking for mastery the guide sits with the child while they show their knowledge. If a child peeks at the back of the card you would simply say something like, "You are getting close. Try it again and get me when you feel you've got it." Once there has been mastery the child then records these words in their language notebook or binder.
Picture to Word Cards
#2 - Domino Cards: this work is new, fun, and engaging for the children. Each domino has the word first and the child looks for the matching picture to be found at the bottom of the mat. There is a red dot at both the beginning and the end to show where to start and stop. Mastery is shown by the guide watching the child put the domino chain together independently. Once mastery has been achieved the child records these words in their language notebook or binder.
#3 - Word Booklets: the child practices reading words in booklet form. Mastery is shown when the child reads through the book with ease. Once mastery has been achieved the child records these words in their language notebook or binder. This booklet acts as a means for the child to practice their knew skill.
Single Word Booklets
#4 - Printed Moveable Alphabet Sentence Building with Picture Prompts: Several of the children in my current class have said that this is their favorite part of each drawer. Each card has an interesting picture with a word containing the specific difficulty on the back. The black and red printed alphabet are used to create a sentence of the child's choosing. There is often a need to coach the child for a few sentences before they begin to figure out how to make their own sentences based on the picture. They feel pretty accomplished with their sentences. The spelling/punctuation we are most concerned with is the isolated difficulty (i.e. a-e saying long a) and capitals and periods. Inventive spelling is fine except in the case of any previously learned difficulties or punctuation lessons a specific child has had during Writer's Workshop or Word Study. Once they have had their sentence checked by a guide they record it in their language notebook or binder. This work provides a motivation for spelling as well as for writing practice.
Picture Prompts for Building Sentences with the Printed Alphabet
#4a - Red and Black Printed Alphabets in Lower and Uppercase Letters: In the lesson presentation portion of this post you can learn how to use these files for your classroom. I keep my sets in these boxes from Amazon:
Red and Black Printed Alphabet in Uppercase Letters
Red and Black Printed Alphabet in Lowercase Letters
#5 - Word Lists: This work is meant to give the child practice in reading more words with this isolated difficulty. When the child can read all of the words with ease and fluency they may then write the words in their language notebook or binder. Notice that the difficulty is no longer in red.
#6 - Sentence Strips: The child reads for practice a set of four sentences for each difficulty. High frequency words (Fry words are used) are included in the weekly practice for the child. The full set of Pink, Blue and Green word cards in sets will be made available once the series is completed. Once a child can smoothly and fluently read their sentence to a guide they may write it down in their language notebook or binder. Early Elementary: Be certain to edit with the child for capitalization and punctuation.
_ _ _ _ _