Sunday, 15 August 2010

Blue Series - Montessori Literacy

I should start by briefly rounding up the pink series for those readers unfamiliar with Montessori.  The pink series is the first step in reading and writing for a child following the literacy curriculum. After the child is familiar with the sandpaper letters and knows perhaps 15-18 letters of the alphabet then s/he can begin working with the movable alphabet (MA) and the pink boxes.  The boxes step up gently to gradually introduce the child to using the MA to build words then to read them, first using visual clues and then just reading letters.  After that come reading lists, phrases, sentences and then books.  Throughout the pink series, all of the words have the same pattern of consonant-vowel-consonant or CVC, such as c-a-t, d-o-g, t-a-p, and so on.  They are all phonetically decodable, meaning that all of the letters used retain their phonetic sound that the child recognises. Once the child has progressed as far as reading phrases and sentences you can consider introducing the blue series.

The blue series is still phonetically decodable but introduces new concepts.  These are:
  • Double blends whether initial such as crab cr-a-b or final blends such as ramp r-a-mp.
  • Triple blends such as sprig spr-i-g
  • Double consonants such as ll, ss.
  • Consonant digraphs (ng, ch, sh, th, nk) - these are different to double blends because the sounds of the consonants change when in a digraph.
  • Consonant trigraphs such as 'tch'
  • Schwa vowel - these are where the vowel sound changes on the end of a word - examples are lemon (pronounced lem-un), infant (pronounced inf-un-t), camel (pronounced cam-ul).
I am training with MCI London and am organising my blue series according to their suggestion:
  • Box one - initial double blends.
  • Box two - Final blends.
  • Box three - assortment of initial blends, final blends and both together (e.g. st-a-mp).
  • Box four - introduce triple blends, double consonants and consonant digraphs.
  • Box five - themes and exciting words to read like 'stink'!!
  • picture cards - reinforce particular blends such as all 'ng' words, reinforce 'schwa' vowel, introduce compound words like 'wigwam' and 'dustbin'.
  • Blue lists - reinforce particular blends but bring compound words and schwa vowels in amongst other concepts already introduced.
During the blue series, you should continue to introduce sight words from the 100 most frequent words used in the English language.  I downloaded mine from twinkl, I use cursive with my girls, they have sassoon versions too.  MCI also suggests that you make and use a spelling book with the children where they can  write words that they wish to remember.  My daughter isn't yet at the writing stage in that way so I will hang fire on that one as I want her to discover it for herself when she is ready.

Later will post lists of the words that are suitable to use for each section and describe how I am organising the materials on a practical level.

1 comment:

  1. hi, sorry to sound dense but is this a pretty comprehensive list of schwa words?