You probably don’t realize it now, but you didn’t appreciate these symbols were letters that formed words and that words could be spoken verbally and written on a page once upon a time. Reading and writing are both quite difficult. At Pearlily Montessori, your three-year-old will learn how to do it! Here’s a quick overview of the materials and lessons your child will be using based on the Montessori curriculum.


Children first learn the sound of the letters in the alphabet.

In a Montessori school, students learn to write before learning to read. They begin by learning letter sounds with sandpaper letters, which uses the sensation of touch to help reinforce learning. For example, they learn the “ah” sound for the letter “a.” Children trace the letter using their fingertips on the textured sandpaper that is shaped like the letter, while saying the letter’s sound out loud. Eventually, they’ll learn the stroke to write the letter on paper. The names of letters are not taught until much later to children who learn to read and write in a Montessori classroom.


Children learn writing the letter by tracing shapes.

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that comprehension should come before memory, and that to truly appreciate language, we must begin with letter sounds which is why children learn to write before learning to read in a Montessori setting. Writing is a hands-on process and children are naturally more eager to learn when they use all their senses including sight, sound, and touch. Children develop hand strength early in the Montessori classroom through activities that encourage the use of the “pincer grip,” which is why we have the children use colored pencils with the Metal Insets. They’re strengthening their finger muscles to be able to write letters. We use other items to assist students in learning how to write letters as they go.


Children learn to assign letters and their sounds to objects or images.

As they advance, children will begin to associate letter sounds or words with specific objects. For example, when they hold a small flower in their hand and place it on the letter “f,” you can see the light bulb go off. All their hard work has been rewarded. It’s fun and like a game to them!


Children use letters to form words.

The next stage—constructing words with letters—comes next once children have mastered letter sounds and associating letters and objects. Their teacher will put three letters in front of them that make a word, say, “cat.” Students then utter each letter sound aloud and then select a photo of a cat from a variety of photos to place on those letters. Bingo—another thread of the reading tapestry has been woven! Once a student has mastered this skill, they’ll be introduced to the moveable alphabet which will allow them to combine letters and sound them out to make simple, then increasingly complicated sentences. Children can start “writing” with the moveable alphabet even before they’ve developed their fine-motor skills to operate a pencil.


Children soon begin to compose words and sentences, as well as read short stories.

Journaling is the last phase in the reading process. We supply journals for students to use for them to tell a tale! They paint a picture using coloring pencils, then write what’s going below with a regular pencil. They also start reading beginner books once they reach this stage.


At Home

Reading books to your child before bedtime can help them develop a love of language tremendously. You can ask them to sound out one word, then read a sentence, and lastly read to you or a younger sibling as they learn to read. Another fun technique to ask your youngster is to demonstrate their abilities to use letter magnets on your refrigerator. Before starting primary school, your child would have developed the skills to read and write at a grade level above Kindergarten. Your child’s academic career is only limited by their hard work and your encouragement at home.

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At Pearlily Montessori, we educate children 3-6 years old and support them in becoming independent, responsible students who love to learn. Learn more about:

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