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Montessori Methodology: Why We Teach Writing Before Reading

“A child does not read until he receives ideas from the written word.” – Maria Montessori,  Discovery of the Child, p. 229.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the most effective way to teach a child to read actually begins with writing. While it seems backwards, this method allows children to put together the knowledge they’re given to ‘discover’ reading on their own. At Grey Matter Montessori in Northwest Calgary, we see firsthand the near magical results from this self-directed learning process in our preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Montessori Methodology in Northwest Calgary

According to a study by Tahzeem Ryan, a masters student for Science in Education, he observed that teaching writing before reading is beneficial to children for three main reasons:

  • Efficiency – teaching writing simultaneously teaches children to read. As your preschooler or kindergartener learns to write, they are, at the same time, learning to read.
  • Effectiveness – this methodology works better than teaching children to read first because instead of memorizing letters, they are truly understanding them.
  • Engagement – a child is more motivated, their self esteem and confidence build up faster and they’re very excited when they begin to write, recognize, and understand written words from the building blocks they are given.

Montessori Methodology: Understanding Before Memorization

Because reading is based on memorization of letters, the brain is trained to look for the pattern, and not the meaning of the word. Maria Montessori believed that understanding should come before memorization. In order to achieve this, one must begin with the sounds letters create: A - auh, b – buh, c – cuh. This way, there’s also no pressure on a child to tackle reading, as he/she is already unconsciously learning the skill as they work on their writing.

When a preschooler or kindergartener learns to understand what they’re writing, they can start to appreciate why and how they use words. This gives them a headstart on language.

Children Learn Best Through Their Senses

Children learn through their senses, and the Montessori method of writing before reading allows children to learn through two important senses: hearing and touch. Since sounds are the building blocks of words, and writing is the tactile expression of this, your kindergarteners and preschoolers get to create the word they’re hearing, giving them the information to begin to read, without laying it out for them.

Just like magic (to them), they put together all this information and start to recognize signs, books, and random bits of writing wherever they are. Suddenly, they’re reading, and allowing it to become their own discovery, giving them ownership of the skill, as well as pride in their ability to understand.

Feel Your Child’s Excitement

At Grey Matter Montessori, we care most about your child’s experience. By utilizing Maria Montessori’s writing before reading technique, we help your child to not only get a headstart in their language and communication experience, but also boost their confidence by making them an active agent in their own learning.

Allowing your child to discover reading for themselves makes them more self-dependent and more aware of their own abilities to learn and discover the world.

Contact us today for more information, or more about the Montessori writing before reading method.


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