Raising a Reading: the Montessori Sound Game

Most of Everett's little friends are starting preschool (MOD programs) soon and I am bracing myself for the thousands of posts and pictures that are going to fill me with self-doubt. I've got a plan, and the plan makes sense for my family. Still, no one likes feeling like their kid is "behind."

My plan is the Montessori Sound Game method I read about in Montessori Read and Write (and on a bunch of blogs.) I'm going to provide a brief summary, but I highly recommend the book. There is so much to it and this is the perfect guide. It's also going to come in handy when someone asks if Everett has memorized his letters yet. I'll have something to hit them with show them.

Prior to reading this book, I fully intended to teach letters the way I've always seen them taught. But this method just makes SENSE. So much sense. 

If you'd like to read more about homeschool, just click this image.
Everett turned two and a half in May, and a month later he is a very confident speaker. The suggested start time for this game was accurate for him, but of course you know your own child best. Some will be ready sooner, and some much later. As alway, follow the child.
  • Level 1, age 2.5 - Initial sound, one object at a time, no opportunity for mistakes

    For a long time now when Everett asks for an object, I repeat it back and stress the initial sound. "You want an apple? A-a-apple." I don't know why I started this and it's probably very annoying to him and my husband. LOL. Everett has only recently REALLY become a fluent talker, but I was able to model these sounds for him long before he was able to repeat them back.

    The game at Level 1 is similar. I hold up an apple and say, "I have something that begins with the a-a-a sound." He will, of course, tell me that I have an apple.
  • Level 2, age 2.5-3 - Initial sound, two or more objects at a time, initial sounds are all different so only one object can be correct
Everett is almost three years old and based on his current skill level I think we'll start Level 3 closer to age three and a half.
  • Level 3, age 3-3.5 - Initial sound, choice of part of room or whole room, many objects with same initial sound to choose from

    Letters are introduced at this level in the form of Sandpaper Letters. You don't teach letter names, though, you teach the phonetic sound that corresponds with the letter. I love the instructional videos at Living Montessori Now.
  • Level 4, age 3.5-4.5 - Initial sound and end sound, played at level 2 then level 3
  • Level 5, age 3.5-4.5 - All sounds in the word, played at level 4, and then with any objects or words

    The Moveable Alphabet is introduced at this level. Reading Blocks are another fun material to add to the mix.
  • Level 6, age 4.5-6 - Choose a sound and think of as many words as you can that have that sound at the beginning, end, or in between.
You will notice that the links I included are on the pricey end, and there are many cheaper options. In general, I would go with the cheaper material, but these are color coded. Most cheaper options are not in the corresponding colors. (Blue vowels and red consonants.) Montessori supply stores may be cheaper but I'm lazy and only shop on Amazon Prime

There are many more games that you can incorporate within this basic sound game. Rhyming, odd one out, matching objects to letters, moveable alphabet, reading blocks, magnetic letters, drawing letter shapes in sand, etc. All of those and more can be found in the book. The sound game is just one chapter out of this awesomely instructive book. It also includes learning to write letters and read.

I did skip ahead, and reading instruction starts around age 4.5. This makes sense, as that's Level 6 of the Sound Game and Level 5 will hopefully already be mastered. It's such a relief as I type that to remind myself that I'm almost two years away from worrying about my child learning to read. We're taking this bit by bit, and that's a lot less stress on this homeschool mom.

What method did you use to teach your child the alphabet?

Find the rest of the Raising a Reader series here.

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Be kind. I'm just a mom behind a computer wearing yoga pants with unwashed hair. -k