Monday, July 14, 2014

Montessori-Inspired Success: Moveable Alphabet + Beautiful Picture Book

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Nina is an emerging reader who likes to read "real books" and to play with small cards.  So, the other day, we enjoyed a Montessori-esque lesson with both.

First, I asked Nina if she'd like to work with our DIY printed moveable alphabet.  When she said she would, I began a game of seek-and-find with her.  

"Can you find the letter that makes the sound /h/?"  I said.  Nina searched for an "h" and placed in on the floor.

"How about an /a/?"  "And a /v/?"  We continued on.

"What do those letters sound like together?"  I asked.

"H-a-v, hav."  Nina smiled.

"Yes.  Now, let's find an 'e' and put it next to them.  This is a word.  The 'e' makes no sound.  It doesn't even make the 'a' long.  Do you know the word?"

"Have!"  Nina shouted.

"Shall we try another one?" I queried. 

Nina nodded in the affirmative and, so, I proceeded with our "game", having Nina spell all the words she would need to be familiar with to read Eric Carle's Have You Seen My Cat?

Then, I told Nina that I was confident that she could read a whole book all by herself if she wished to do so.  A beautiful book that has an illustration in it that reminds me of a story from when I was a little girl.

Of course, Nina wanted to read the book!

She asked me to hold the book for her as she read, and, then, took it into her own lap as she decoded every word of text while enjoying Eric Carle's beautiful illustrations.

Proud as punch, Nina finished reading the picture book.  Then, she asked me to tell her the story about when I was a little girl.

When I was about 10, my grandfather was babysitting my brother, sisters and me for a weekend, when our cat went missing.  We looked and looked for her and, when we finally found her, we discovered that she had been hiding for a reason.  She had birthed a litter of seven kittens. 

Nina asked me question after question, and, later that night, retold my memory - in great detail - to her dad.

Since then, Nina has mentioned my childhood story several times, re-read Have You Seen My Cat? to me and spontaneously spelled words with our DIY moveable alphabet.

I'd call that one successful Montessori-inspired experience.

How have you adapted Montessori materials and techniques and connected them to your children's needs and interests lately?



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