Preschoolers Discover the Joy of Reading at Glebe Montessori School

Written by: Savka E. Wisecup, Montessori Educational Consultant, Glebe Montessori School

“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 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 Preschool Montessori Language curriculum is uniquely designed for children to discover the art and joy of reading. Examples of Montessori language materials and activities used for reading preparation include the sandpaper letters, movable alphabet, matching and classification lessons, sound & letter recognition games, word building materials, and much more. These progressive language lessons and materials build a solid language foundation, support vocabulary enrichment, expand imagination and knowledge, improve communication and listening skills, develop critical thinking skills and increase memory. The goal of the Montessori language curriculum is not only to help children attain high level reading skills, but most important, to experience a love 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.” [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 are focused on social media, television, smart phones and constant distractions that fill time and space. These distractions should not override making it a priority to read on a daily basis. This is especially true for our children.

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 into a habit. At Glebe Montessori School, we start the reading habit in our toddler classrooms. A study conducted by Ohio State University, published April 4, 2019 in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics showed that “young children, whose parents read 5 books a day to them, will enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to… This ‘million word gap’ could be one of the keys in explaining differences in vocabulary and reading development.” We encourage parents to start reading to their child from birth. Assist preschool children in selecting books, reread books to them as repetition builds vocabulary, initiate discussions and ask questions. Reverse roles while reading together so your young child gains confidence in reading aloud. Above all, foster a love of reading. “Our care of children should be governed, not by the desire to ‘make them learn things,’ but by the endeavor to always keep burning within them the light which is called intelligence.” [Dr. Maria Montessori]

We invite you to join us at Glebe Montessori School Visitors’ Information Night on November 12 from 6 -7 pm, at 650 Lyon St. South, to learn more about the Montessori Language curricula in our Toddler, Preschool and Elementary Grades 1 to 6 classrooms.