Maria Montessori was ahead of her time when she developed her language curriculum. Teacher catalogs are now showcasing "new" tactile sandpaper letters. Some educators don't realize that Montessori created the sandpaper letters over 100 years ago! The public schools in this area are finally switching to phonetic language instruction as well. Montessori focused heavily on phonics instruction in order to teach reading. This explains why a Montessori child might point to a letter "d" and say "that is 'duh'". The language program is extensive and will be explained in detail at a later date.
In my class, as soon as children start to blend three sounds together, they become very eager to get their hands on a book. This is why we need to be sure to give the children phonetic readers that are at their developmental level. Giving a young reader a book with unphonetic words could cause a great deal of frustration. I like to use Bob books, then the Montessori Phonics Readers.
Recently, I found a great website with FREE phonics readers that you can print or read with your child on the computer. Honestly, I'm shocked that this program is still free and doubt that it will remain that way. If you like the materials, I would print them out while they're still available.
Here's the link: Progressive Phonics
A few tips for working with your young child at home...
1. Watch for signs of boredom or exhaustion and quit while you're ahead.
2. Be sure you work in conjunction with your child's teacher, communicate often to avoid confusion.
3. Educational activities should be meaningful and your child should be actively engaged. Avoid "busy work".
4. Always keep activities light and enjoyable...learning needs to be fun at this age!!