Read! Read! Read!

Read! Read! Read!

By Elizabeth S. Wisecup

“We should realize that if a child has learned to speak, he has a language and a way to express his personality. He has created from nothing, a way to let others to know him as a person. Reading and writing are no more difficult to acquire than speaking is, since they are also ways to communicate. It is the adult who makes learning to read and write difficult when he or she approaches the two as subjects to be conquered, rather than discoveries to be made.” Dr. Maria Montessori

The Montessori Language curriculum is unique because it is designed for children to DISCOVER reading. Examples of Montessori language materials and activities, used for the preparation of reading, are the sandpaper letters, movable alphabet, matching and classification lessons, word building activities, story sequence cards and much more. In every classroom is a library which books are used for daily reading circles. These language building activities provide a solid language foundation, supports vocabulary enrichment, expands imagination and knowledge, improves communication skills, develops critical thinking skills and increases memory.

Not only does this unique curriculum help children attain reading skills; it invites them to experience the joy of reading. Scientists and educators have reminded us over and over again about the benefits of reading. “Individuals who read regularly across their lifespan showed increased mental capacity as they aged. Those individuals who read less frequently throughout their life and did not engage their brains in old age experienced a mental decline rate that was 48 percent faster than those who kept their brains active across their lives.” [www. neurology.org/content] “

One study found a positive association between cognitive based activities such as reading and a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Just like the heart, the brain is a muscle that needs to be taken care of in order to function at its fullest capacity throughout our lifetimes.” [https://usatoday30.usatoday.com]

Our society and life style is focused on social media, television, smart phones and constant distractions that fill time and space. These distractions should not outweigh establishing a priority to make time to read. This is especially true for our children.

Dr. Maria Montessori so wisely stated, “To influence society we must turn our attention to childhood. Out of this truth comes the importance of the little ones who are building mankind and can only work on the materials we give them.” Roald Dahl’s poem “Television” offers us expert advice:

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray

go throw your TV set away

and in its place, you can install

a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”

 Reading can easily be made a habit. Warren Buffet states that 80% of his day is spent reading and Bill Gates reads a book a week.  Start the reading habit, even with your young children.  Assist children in selecting books, reread books to them as repetition builds vocabulary, initiate discussions and ask questions, and reverse roles while reading together,  so the young child  gains confidence in reading aloud. Reading expands our children’s knowledge and encourages their natural drive to discover and experience the world. Dr. Montessori understood that “our care of the children should be governed not by the desire to “make them learn things”, but by the endeavor to always keep the light, which is called intelligence, burning within them.”