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By Rachel Hendron | February 26, 2012

Introduction to Reading

Reading is an ability which develops during the Sensitive Period for Language, from prenatal hearing to the ‘Explosion into Reading’, around the age of five.  Reading is an extension of the development of Vocabulary, the child discovers how a known word looks in graphic form after she has become a fluent speaker and has benefited from indirect and direct Enrichment Activities, the Three Period Lesson, Language Training and Writing.  It is impossible to read an unknown word meaningfully, in the Casa a child begins to read at around four years, some eight to ten months after beginning to write with the Moveable Alphabet, at around three to three and a half years.  Children are never asked to read from the Moveable Alphabet and parents need to be discouraged from asking them to read, instead children should be left to arrive at reading on their own, with enjoyment, excitement and a love of reading.

Whilst writing is an analysis of one’s own ideas, reading is the analysis and synthesis; this requires a great deal more mental effort and a maturing knowledge of culture.  In the Casa all reading is ‘Total Reading’, not simply the mechanical sounding out of graphemes, which is begun with the Sand Paper Letters, but involves the comprehension and enjoyment of the thoughts, sentiments and style of the author, an appreciation of vocabulary, word order, patterns and rhyme.  Books should be offered to the very young child and she should be allow to follow her own interest in any subject to help her develop an appreciation of language as an artistic and cultural activity.

The Process of Reading

Reading begins with the unknown thought of another in graphic form.  Firstly, the graphemes be recognisable, then the child relates the phonemes to the grapheme, then she fuses the phonemes and if the word is know to her the fused sounds are associated with the words meaning.  Lastly the child needs to make the precise meaning of the word fit it’s context in this sentence.

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We facilitate the process of synthesising the phonemes by narrowing the possibilities, limiting the amount of objects limits the amount of names to choose from.  Also, each difficulty is isolated by giving a set of ‘keys’, phonemes, graphemes and later puzzle words.  After the child can read individual words fluently a series of exercises is given to explore how words relate to each other in phrases to give a forceful sensorial impression of the function of the parts of speech and word order (grammar) by isolating each part.

The child can works independently in two stages, firstly using the material and knowledge in a spontaneous, creative way to establish a series of words and then transposing the words as a reading activity.  Coloured symbols give a visual impression of the different functions of words and the relationships between them. In the second stage she analyses her own stories, relating the symbols to the vocabulary she has chosen to highlight patterns, emphasising the noun.

Parallel or previous to this are Reading Classification Activities in which the child relates labels to objects and cards and Sentence Analysis, in which the child comes to use charts to separate the theme of the sentence into it’s parts.

In the Casa we work in the following order

  • Simple Sounds
  • Reading Words
  • Reading Phrases
  • Reading Sentences
  • Parts of Speech
  • Sentence structure

Alongside all of this plenty of reading matter and exposure to words which are used to classify objects encourage the child to write.

The child is not asked to read loudly or in front of her peers as reading out-loud requires an extra stage, instead of recognising the sounds in ones imagination, using ones lips silently or in a hushed tone, the child needs to pronounce the word clearly and meaningfully in the context of the sentence.  This requires the child to ‘read ahead’, to pre-empt the content, rhythm and appropriate tone.  Reading out loud is an appropriate activity only when the child fully understands the whole text, how to present a narrative and vitally, has the confidence to do so.

The Function of Word activities lead the child into interpretation. With the Reading Analysis activities the child begins to appreciate the language, going into what Dr Montessori called ‘total reading’.

Books

Part of preparing the child for reading involves being familiar with books, handling them correctly and enjoying them, it is important that books, written or purely illustrated are available to even the youngest child.  One of the earliest Elementary Activities is showing how to carry a book, like a tray, how to turn the pages, opening them with care, lifting them without folding or creasing the pages.  We explain that as books are an expression of another’s thought we treat them with the respect we would show to another person.  To encourage this we give the author’s and illustrator’s names.  Display books in the reading corner to show their cover, rotate the display and have a place near the bookshelf to sort the books into categories, so that all the children are familiar with books long before they can read.

Let the child select a book and either sit in a comfortable but upright chair near in the reading corner, ensure that there is sufficient lighting, or take the book to another place, returning it when she is finished or asking to take the book home with her.

Object Box I

Material Description:

Object Box I

A box containing ten to twelve objects which should be changed often (Have more in the adults area in a different box and change a few at a time). The names of the objects should be phonetic e.g. cup, hat, bag, crab, stamp, pin, pot, bat, can etc.

Have an adult’s tray with a pencil, slips of paper and a writing pad, a pair of scissors and a coloured pencil.  Have a box containing printed slips naming the objects that are in the first box in cursive script

Phonetic Reading Cards

These cards have phonetic words of various lengths, written in pink with the vowels isolated in blue, either in cursive or print.

First and Second Word Baskets

These contain around ten slips of paper measuring 10cm2 held together with a rubber band or ribbon.  Each slip is folded three or four times lengthwise.  In the first basket there are phonetic words written in cursive, in the second the words have double terminal consonants ‘ll’, ‘ff’ and ‘ss’, in which the consonant is written twice but sounded once, e.g..‘cuff’, ‘dress’, ‘mill’.  The slips contrast in colour to those of the first basket.

Phonetic Reading Booklets

  1. Each book has an illustration on one side and a corresponding word on the other
  2. Two illustrations and words per page
  3. A rich supply of phonetical reading books available in the reading corner

Left to right; adults tray, Object Box 1 and first and second word baskets

Presentation:

Object Box I

  • Ask the child to bring the box to the Chowki and bring the adult’s tray
  • If the child does not know the correct names for the objects give them as you remove them from the box
  • When all the objects are on the table say, “I wonder if you can tell me which of these I am thinking of?” The child picks one, you say, “No, not that one”, then say, “Let me help you”
  • Show that writing is a silent way to learn the thoughts of another by writing the word in cursive on the strip of paper attached to the writing pad
  • Help the child to say the sounds, then ask her to repeat the sounds ‘faster’ until the phonemes synthesise
  • When the child identifies the object put the strip with the object
  • Repeat the above with all the other objects, only ask her to guess what you are thinking of for the first few objects
  • When all of the objects have been identified gather the strips up and ask her to read them out loud, pairing them with the object once again

Objects from Object Box 1

Printed Slips

  • Give the child printed slips with the names of the objets so she can repeat the activity independently
  • note: The writing and the printed slips have the same font as the Sand Paper letters
  • If the child asks to take the strips home explain to the parents that this is a pairing with an object activity and not a total reading one

Phonetic Reading Cards

  • The child sounds out each card and reads it out loud.  Encourage repetition by doing a few at a time.
  • If she wishes to write the word turn the card over and suggest she writes it from memory, sounding out the phonemes, using a pencil or the letters of the Moveable Alphabet

First and Second Word Baskets

  • Words in bundles of ten, the child opens the flaps and reads them before carefully folding them back.  When doing the second basket explain that when the sounds ‘l’, ‘f’ and ‘s’ come last in a word they are written twice.

Phonetic Reading Booklets

  • Let the child read the booklets alone, to herself
  • Increase the difficulty by having two illustrations and two words
  • Have plenty of phonetic booklets to enrich the child’s vocabulary in the reading corner

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise that words are a group of graphemes which represent phonemes
  • To help the child to realise that reading is a silent communication, words are a meaningful interpretation of another person’s thoughts

Age at Presentation:

Four to five years

Footnote:

  • This marks the stage where the ‘Explosion into Reading’ can be identified, the hunger for words is intense and needs nurturing
  • Give Object Box II and Puzzle Word Box I soon after

Object Box II

Material Description:

A box containing fifteen objects, with phonetic names which have graphemes corresponding to those of the Green Sand Paper Letters e.g. pail, tree, tie, boat, glue, star, cork, fern, ship, boy, cloth, trout, ostrich, book, quilt.  Have printed slips with the names of all the objects in a box, written incursive and Box 2 of the Moveable alphabet available in two colours.  Have the adult’s tray available with a pencil, red pencil, strips of paper on a writing pad and a pair of scissors.

Presentation:

  • Ask the child to remove the objects from the box and name them, helping her with any names she does not know
  • When all the objects are on the table say, “I wonder if you can tell me which of these i am thinking of?” The child picks one, you say, “No, not that one”, then say “Let me help you”
  • Show that writing is a silent way to learn the thoughts of another by writing the word in cursive on the strip of paper attached to the writing pad, underline the ‘Green Grapheme’ in red pencil
  • Ask her if she can remember how the ‘Green Grapheme’ sounds, indicating it
  • Help the child to say the sounds, then ask her to repeat the sounds ‘faster’ until the phonemes synthesises
  • When the child identifies the object put the strip with the object
  • Repeat the above with all the other objects, only ask her to guess what you are thinking of for the first few objects
  • Give the child printed slips with the names of the objets so she can repeat the activity independently

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise that words are a group of graphemes which represent phonemes
  • To help the child to realise that reading is a silent communication, words are a meaningful interpretation of another person’s thoughts

Age at Presentation:

After Object Box I

Footnote:

  • If the child has difficulties put one item and it’s slip from Object Box II into Object Box I and give the original presentation
  • Ask the child to suggest word beginning with the ‘Green Grapheme’ and build them with two Moveable Alphabets, representing the ‘Green Grapheme’ in a contrasting colour
  • Encourage the child to look for words beginning with the ‘Green Grapheme’ in books and write them with the Moveable Alphabet is she wishes
  • Use the Moveable Alphabet to build words which start and end with a ‘Green Grapheme’
  • Introduce the child to ‘Phonogram Booklets’ with the sound on the cover and examples of words where it is used inside
  • Suggest the child writes words or phrases with the ‘Green Grapheme’ e.g. ‘The shopkeeper sold shoes to the shipbuilder who had come ashore for a short visit’

Action Cards

Material Description:

On red cards written in cursive, write verbs like pat, feel, grip, march, brush, nod, look, shiver, smell, run, jump, sniff, skip, blink, clap, wink and hop, using all the graphemes in the Green Sand Paper Letters

Presentation:

  • Take a few Action cards and place them on a chowki
  • Turn over a card and say, “You do what the card says”
  • The child reads the card and performs the action, if the child does not know it say the word and show the action

Direct Aim:

  • Further reading practice
  • Encouraging the interpretation of words

Age at Presentation:

After Object Box II

Puzzle Word Box I

Material Description:

This set of cards contains familiar words that occur regularly in the early reading environment, but which are not phonetic, e.g. is, the, I, go, put, has, me, my, buy, your,  she, he.  As they follow no regular construction they must be memorised for the child to access basic books.  These cards are around 8cm by 12 cm.  The words are written in cursive or print.

Presentation:

  • Say, “These are puzzling words, we have to learn them as we cannot sound them out”
  • Select three words which contrast in shape, sound and meaning and give a Three Period Lesson
  • Put the words into sentences to give their context

Exercises:

  • The child does a few words with you or her peers
  • The child writes the words with the Moveable Alphabet

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child read simple words without phonetic spellings to aid her fluency
  • Further preparation for writing and reading

Age at Presentation:

After the Action Cards

Games (Further Exercises):

  • The adult hides a puzzle word and invites a small group of children to find it and guess what it says
  • The child looks for the words in a book
  • One child can read the Puzzle Word and another child writes it

Footnote:

The Puzzle Words can be found in the book,  ‘Songs the Letter Say’

Reading Cards and Slips

Material Description:

Have cards with pictures and separate slips with a simple phrase or sentence written for each picture, e.g. ‘the man has a bag, ‘the hat is on the bed’.  Change the cards frequently.

Presentation:

  • Invite the child saying, “Now you can read all the words we have learnt together you can read these strips and match them to the pictures”

Direct Aim:

  • Further preparation for writing and reading

Age at Presentation:

After Puzzle Box I

Footnote:

  • Present these alongside other reading material for Culture, e.g. music, plants, People of the World, transport, architecture etc
  • Reading Booklets

Material Description:

Make reading booklets using phonetic words, ‘Green Graphemes’ and puzzle words.  They should relate to every area of Culture; Science, The Worlds of Plants, Animals, Art, Music and Sensorial Activities; The Pink Tower, Colour, The Five Senses, Bells and other interests of the child so each will find a booklet which sparks of their interest.  If they are illustrated the images should be realistic and beautiful.  Have two or three pages in each booklet so the child feels as though she has read a whole book.  Write ‘Green Grapheme’ letters in a contrast colour.  Also have poetry books.  Make the books progressively more difficult.

Examples

Page 1: The roots

Page 2: The trunk

Page 3: The branches

Page 4: The leaves

Page 5: These are parts of a tree

Page 6: The roots grow in the soil and take in water to feed the tree

Page 7: The trunk is the main stem which connects the leaves and branches to the roots

Page 8: The branches are divisions which spring out from the main trunk, they support the leaves

Page 9: The leaves are the foliage of the tree and are usually green

Page 1: The roof

Page 2: The upstairs

Page 3: The downstairs

Page 4: The foundations

Page 5: These are all parts of a house

Page 6: The roof protects the house from rain, wind and sun, it keeps the house warm

Page 7: The upstairs is where we sleep and bathe

Page 8: The downstairs is where we eat, cook, work and relax, it is where we welcome guests

Page 9: The foundations are walls underneath the house which keep the building strong and safe

Presentation:

  • Children are free to take a booklet of their choosing and read

Direct Aim:

  • Further preparation for writing and reading

Phonogram Dictionary

Material Description:

This measures approximately 7cm by 22cm indexed like an address book.  On the first page there is nothing cut out.  From the next page the tabs begin; each one showing a combination of letters written in black, on the corresponding pages for each tab the ‘Key Sound’ is written in red, this translates the ‘Key Sound’ into a known phoneme that the child can pronounce.   The last tab contains the unknown letter combinations, ‘sion/tion’, the corresponding known grapheme is ‘shun’

Presentation:

  • The child picks a letter combination she does not know from the tabs, opens that page and finds the known grapheme, e.g. in a book the child reads the word ‘Phone’, she finds ‘ph’, written in black on a tab, on the corresponding page she sees ‘f’, written in red.

Age at Presentation: 

This can be introduced at any time after Stage 1 of the Reading Folders

Reading Folders

Material Description:

There are thirteen reading folders corresponding to thirteen non-phonetic graphemes.  These are ai, ee, ie, oa, ue, or, er, ou, oy, s, j, f, e, shun  

In the folders are cards and booklets.  On the outside of the folder is the ‘Key Sound’,  the cards have one copy of this grapheme and a copy of alternative graphemes (which the child is currently unfamiliar with) which produce the same phoneme to the grapheme on the front of the folder.  All of these cards are written in red, on the back of each the known ‘Key Sound’ is written in blue, as a control.  The booklets have one word on each page which corresponds to each card, the grapheme is highlighted by being written in red.

Have a few letters of the second Moveable Alphabet in a bag or box with this material

Phonogram dictionary

ai – ai, ay, ei, a-e

ee – ee, ea, y, ie, e-e

ie –  ie, y, igh,  i-e

oa – oa, ow, oe, o-e

ue – ue, oo, ew, u-e

or – or,  au, ough, aw

er – er, ir, ur

ou – ou, ow

oy – oy, oi

s – ce/ci, cy, s

j – ge/gi, j

f – ph, f

e – e, ea

shun – sion/tion – there is no reading folder for this

Presentation:

Stage 1

  • Bring the Reading folders, second Moveable Alphabet letters and Phonogram dictionary to a Working Mat
  • Ask the child to identify the folders ‘Key Sound’, which the child will recognise from the Sand Paper Letters
  • Show the child how to remove the cards from the folders
  • Explain that all the graphemes produce the same phonemes
  • Place the cards one below the other, with the ‘Key Sound’ at the top and the hyphenated grapheme last.
  • Say, “These cards look different but the make the same sound”, indicating all the cards
  • Indicating the hyphenated card, say, “This sound is special”, then turn it over.
  • Remove the booklets and pair them with the cards, placing them on the right
  • Take each booklet and suggest the child reads them out-loud to you, help the child to recognise that the highlighted grapheme makes the ‘Key Sound’
  • Only explain the meaning of a word if the child asks
  • When all the booklets of the face-up cards have been read turn over the hyphenated card, saying, “We also say (‘Key Sound’) for these letters”.
  • Take the Moveable Alphabet letters and compose words over the hyphenated card, e.g. mate, cover the e with your thumb and let the child read it; ‘mat’.  Then uncover and let her read it; ‘mate’ to experience the effect the grapheme has on the phoneme
  • Continue e.g. ‘tap’ becomes ‘tape’, ‘cap’ becomes ‘cape’.  The child notices that the final ‘a’ changes to the phoneme ‘ai’ when the ‘e’ is uncovered.  Read the booklet that corresponds to this card.
  • Leave the child to re-read all of the booklets
  • To tidy, show the child to put the loose ends of the booklets into the folders first.

Exercises:

  • The child looks at the other folders as above

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child explore the alternative spellings of the ‘Key Sounds’
  • To help with reading

Age at Presentation:

  • Four to four and a half years

Presentation:

Stage 2

  • After the child has completed a few folders choose two or three which contrast to be worked with together
  • Remove the cards from the folders, mix them and stack them
  • Put the folders horizontally along the top of the mat as ‘headers’
  • Reveal the card on top of the stack and ask the child to put it with it’s ‘Key Symbol’
  • The child sorts the cards into columns with the same ‘Key Symbol’
  • When complete the child can control her error by checking the blue ‘Key Symbol’ on the back of the card.

Exercises:

  • The child uses the cards from more folders which she has worked with at Stage 1 as above

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • The blue ‘Key Symbol’ on the card’s reverse

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child associate un-phonetic graphemes with the known ‘Key Sound’

Presentation:

Stage 3

  • The child places all the folders in a horizontal line and using the second Moveable Alphabet she writes all the alternative grapheme combinations she can remember.
  • She checks her work by looking at the cards

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • The cards

Direct Aim:

  • For the child to check her own memory associations
  • To help the child become confident at reading

Presentation:

Stage 4 – When the child is around five years, or is able to write and spell words

  • Ask the child to divide a page into two columns, with two ‘Key Sounds’ on the top line
  • Read words from the two booklets which are hidden by you with the folder
  • The child tries to write the word under the appropriate ‘Key Sound’, spelling it accurately
  • The child checks her own work with the booklets

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • The booklets

Direct Aim:

  • For the child to check her own memory associations
  • To help the child become confident at reading

Age at Presentation:

  • Five to five and a half years

Puzzle Word Box II

Material Description:

This set of cards contains familiar words that occur regularly, but which are not phonetic, e.g. knee, knot, thumb, lamb, sold, air.  As they follow no regular construction they must be memorised for the child to access basic books.  These cards are around 8cm by 12 cm.  The words are written in cursive or print.  They can be given after the reading folders

Presentation:

  • Say, “These are puzzling words, we have to learn them as we cannot sound them out”
  • Select three words which contrast in shape, sound and meaning and give a Three Period Lesson
  • Put the words into sentences to give their context

Exercises:

  • The child does a few words with you or her peers
  • The child writes the words with the Moveable Alphabet

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child read simple words without phonetic spellings to aid her fluency
  • Further preparation for writing and reading

Age at Presentation:

After the Action Cards and Puzzle words I

Games (Further Exercises):

  • The adult hides a puzzle word and invites a small group of children to find it and guess what it says
  • The child looks for the words in a book
  • One child can read the Puzzle Word and another child writes it

Footnote:

The Puzzle Words can be found in the book, ‘Songs the Letter Say’

Reading Classification 

I – Objects in the Casa

These reading activities, offered in three stages, repeat earlier activities from the Oral stage e.g. Enrichment of Vocabulary, Conversation, Orientation games and I SPY at a new level of complexity.  The child will therefore know the names of the objects, the aim here is to teach reading. If possible begin with a real object.

Material Description:

I a) Objects in the environment: There are printed slips with words of many of the objects in the Environment, e.g. clock, table, piano, chair, paper.  Have these cards in large and small stacks.

I b) Exercises of Practical Life: have printed slips naming the actives and apparatus of the Exercises of Practical Life, e.g. pouring of grains, grains, tray, jug.

I c) Sensorial Apparatus: have printed slips naming the apparatus and qualities of the Sensorial Activities e.g. pink tower, large, larger, largest, small, smaller, smallest

The adult’s tray

Presentation:

I a) Objects in the environment

  • This can be a small group activities, bring the adult’s tray
  • In front of the children write out a name of an object in the room and pass the slip to one child, (or two if one child will benefit from another’s support)
  • Ask her to pair the slip with the object in the room
  • Give each child a turn
  • Present the (I b) Exercises of Practical Life and the (I c) Sensorial Apparatus as above

Exercises:

  • Encourage the child to write their own slips (have a box with blank slips prepared)
  • If the child wishes she can write the words with the Moveable Alphabet and use the cards you wrote as a control
  • Give five or six slips and leave the small child with the rest

Direct Aim:

  • Further reading practice to rehearse and extend the vocabulary that the child has already learnt
  • To interpret words and their sequencing
  • To help explore all aspects of culture

Age at Presentation: 

Four and a half to five years

Reading Classification

II – Nomenclature Cards

These reading activities, offered in three stages, repeat earlier activities from the Oral stage e.g. Enrichment of Vocabulary, Conversation, Orientation games and I SPY at a new level of complexity.  The child will therefore know the names of the objects, the aim here is to teach reading.  If possible begin with a real object.

Material Description:

II a) Objects in the Home Environment: There are printed slips with words of many of the objects in the Home Environment, e.g.kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom.  There are two sets of each Nomenclature Card, one with the name attached and the other set with the name on a separate slip.

II b) Objects in the Social Environment: There are printed slips with words of many of the objects in the Social Environment, e.g.baker, newsagent, grocer, bus station, farm.  There are two sets of each Nomenclature Card, one with the name attached and the other set with the name on a separate slip.

II c) Objects in the Cultural Environment: There are printed slips with words of many of the objects of culture, e.g. animals, musical instruments, flowers, artists. There are two sets of each Nomenclature Card, one with the name attached and the other set with the name on a separate slip.

Presentation:

II a) Objects in the Home Environment, first stage

  • The child pairs the two sets of pictures
  • The child tries to read the words on the slips and pairs them with the picture, using the picture with the name attached as a control

II a) Objects in the Home Environment, second stage

  • As above but remove the set of cards with attached names, keep them available for the child to use as a control to check her work
  • Present the (II b) Objects of the Social Environment as above, following both stages

II c) Objects in the Cultural Environment:

  • Give a Three Period Lesson with real objects e.g. a flower, plant with roots in water, land and water models, diagrams for parts of the body
  • After a conversation has taken place about the real objects let present the Objects of the Cultural Environment as above, following both stages

Exercises:

  • After completing the Social Environment to the second stage the child can mix up the cards of both the Home and Social Environments

Direct Aim:

  • Further reading practice to rehearse and extend the vocabulary that the child has already learnt
  • To interpret words and their sequencing
  • To help explore all aspects of culture

Age at Presentation: 

Four and a half to five years

Footnote:

  • Rotate the cards often to maintain the child’s interest
  • Use models instead of pictures wherever possible
  • Have five to six sets of each of the ‘Worlds’ available at any one time for the child to use for Objects of the Cultural Environment
  • Remind the children of the previous work done in the oral activities to help them make connections
  • Also have cards for numbers of the calendar for use when the child’s Mathematical Mind is prepared
  • If a second language is spoken have the second language written on an additional slip, or the original one’s reverse
  • Number the cards and have a Control available for each set

Reading Classification 

III – Definition Stages

These reading activities, offered in three stages, repeat earlier activities from the Oral stage e.g. Enrichment of Vocabulary, Conversation, Orientation games and I SPY at a new level of complexity.  The child will therefore know the names of the objects, the aim here is to teach reading. If possible begin with a real object.

Material Description:

III a) Definition Booklet for each classification. e.g. for Geography have Land and Water forms, for Botany have parts of a plant, for Geometry have parts of a square.  Have at least one for each section.

Each booklet has a picture on the front cover, opening the booklet there is a picture

on the left side and a definition on the right.  The word that is defined is written in red and that part is highlighted in the picture.

III b) Definition Stages: there are three envelopes or boxes for each classification containing:

  1. On separate cards, the complete definition is written with the words defined in red, each definition card has a corresponding picture card.  The are exactly like the booklets
  1. Here the definition is written out but the word it defines is not attached, but is on a separate sip, written in red. There are also corresponding pictures
  1. The definition is in several separate complete sentences, the word defined is in red on a separate slip with and picture in the same envelope.

The adult’s tray

Presentation:

III a) Definition Booklet

  • The child reads the booklet after having a real experience, give the definitions in detail

III b) Definition Stages

  1. The child reads each name and matches it to it’s picture
  2. The child reads each name and matches it to it’s picture and definition and matches them
  3. The child reads each name and matches it to it’s picture, then she reads the phrases which make up the definition, contrasting them and sorting them under the correct picture, she checks the order of the phrases
  • In each case the child can Control her Error with the definition booklet
  • Present the (I b) Exercises of Practical Life and the (I c) Sensorial Apparatus as above

Direct Aim:

  • Further reading practice to rehearse and extend the vocabulary that the child has already learnt
  • To interpret words and their sequencing
  • To help explore all aspects of culture

Age at Presentation: 

After the Reading Classification Nomenclature Cards

Footnote:

  • Mark the contents onto the box or envelopes and write the definition number e.g. ‘Parts of a leaf, definition number 1’ onto the card.

Introduction to Function of Words

The Montessori Curriculum introduces the Function of Words in the Casa not as grammar lessons, (which are offered at Elementary Level to children accustomed to abstract analysis) but as sensorial explorations of the limited number of functions different words have.  Understanding these functions can be applied to any reading matter to help her achieve ‘total reading’.

The exercises offer additional content – the child is able to use and select appropriate answers t questions asked before placing the symbols.  The activities consciously highlight the ways parts of speech are used and this awareness builds they child’s ability to select vocabulary, improving her oral and written language.  Nomenclature, rules and variations are not given, the article remains without a full explanation, only one particular use being given.

Presenting the Function of Words

These lessons follow a sequence.  A few days before they are games may be played with small groups, offering an initial exploration.  Later individuals receive presentations in which the Directress  writes examples of each function in lower case and without punctuation.  The children read the examples and are asked to perform them, or arrange them with models.  The slips the Directress has written are then cut and rearranged (transposed) and the phrases are read, the strange word order may well be amusing to the child, then the original example is reformed.  Transpositions are done to show the child the importance of syntax. Then the Directress asks the child to identify the parts of speech and shows her the symbols used to represent each, giving a powerful sensorial experience of the limited number of functions.

The Directress then gives the child printed slips to work with, staying with her while she completes the first one to check she understands the procedure, this time before the child transposes she must copy the slip and not cut the original.

The Function of Word presentations are given after the child has mastered a few of the green letters and puzzle words I, they are taught in parallel with all other writing and reading activities.

The Function of Word presentations can be divided into two main groups, these around the noun (Objects and Concepts) and those that relate to the verb (energy and action).

Function of Words

The Function of Words activities or games are to draw the child’s attention to the function of words in a sentence, to build her conscious awareness of the words she uses and their sequencing.  These activities help in the interpretative level of reading.  We use symbols to highlight a function of a word and place them above the word to give a sensorial pattern to writing.  She realises that some words are names, that others are actions and so on.  We do not give the child the grammatical names (noun, verb, adjective etc) in the Casa, instead we use the symbols.

In introducing each of the words it is very necessary to write in front of the child because reading is sharing ones thoughts with another person, as we do when we read a book.  The ideas come to the child without being told verbally.

The function of word activities are to help the child appreciate her language and understand it’s structure.  For every activity before giving the main activity have verbal games as a preliminary.

Characteristics of a lesson

  • Small group
  • Humour
  • Activation of Tendencies
  1. Order and Manipulation (cutting and transposing)
  2. Activity (Interactive with the farm and the Casa)
  3. Repetition (Listening to friends multiple phrases)
  4. Communication (Influence on writing and speech)

Sequencing of Presenting

  • Adult’s tray – cursive introduction
  • Action – Read and interpret
  • Cut with scissor – transpose and interpret
  • Copy independently – read, print and write cursive
  • Spontaneous activity – crete own phrases

The Symbols

Nouns have been introduced when the child did the oral activities of Orientation Games I SPY, the Moveable Alphabet and Reading Classification so there is no activity here for the special function of nouns.  Montessori associated the noun family with pyramids, they are ancient un-moveable objects, representing matter.  They are represented by a large black triangle, the adjective is represented by a medium sized dark blue triangle and the article by a small, light blue triangle.  The article and the noun like a mother and baby stay together, the adjective, like a child comes and goes.The verb is a red circle, originally it was a sphere, it keeps moving, like the sun it has a fiery energy, the adverb is a smaller circle in orange.  The conjunction is a pink rectangle, it joins like a hyphen while the preposition is a green crescent, linking the position of two objects like a bridge.  This information is shared only with Elementary level children, not those in the Casa.

Function of Words

The Article

Material Description:

A box containing many objects.  There are only one of each for some objects and several of the same kind for others (have objects which begin with consonants) e.g. differing numbers of model farm animals or one bead, one clip, several mats, several buttons.  Have two sets of cards in two sets of colours, on the first set is written the nouns on the other set is written the articles, ‘the’ and ‘a’.  There are also control cards with the article and noun written together.

Preliminary Activity:

  • Have verbal games, with a few objects in the room use the articles ‘a’ and ‘the’ e.g. ‘show me a chair’, ‘point to the clock’
  • Play the orientation game, showing that, for instance that for the many brushes we can say, ‘a brush’, but for we say, ‘the’ toothbrush and ‘the’ sweeping brush for singular brushes

Presentation:

  • Remove the objects from the box, giving the article and noun
  • Impart the idea that some and singular and some are plural by keeping the objects in their groups on the table.
  • Say, “I am thinking of one of these, I will give you a clue” and write the article (in red) and the noun (in graphite)
  • Let the child read the slip and pair it.
  • Continue with the other objects
  • Deliberately confuse one article ad bring your error to the child’s attention, saying, “‘The’ is only used when there is one object”, cancel ‘the’ and write ‘a’.
  • Continue until all items are labeled
  • Collect the strips, the child reads and replaces them.
  • Give the printed slips to the child to use independently, sorting the articles and nouns and controlling her error with the control card you wrote

Exercises:

  • Repeating the activity with the printed cards
  • Encourage the child to list the objects in the Casa and the Exercises of Practical Life materials with articles used as above,
  • The child writes a list of farm animals with their articles
  • Introduce the use of the article ‘an’ for a few groups of nouns which begin with vowels

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • The control card

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise the function and the sequence of the words in a phrase.  In this case highlighting the article
  • The child explores her language
  • Further reading practice

Indirect Aim:

  • Further grammar work

Age at Presentation:

  • Around four and a half, when the child begins to read phonetically

Footnote:

  • Encourage the child’s language using a model of a farm, zoo, dolls house, shop or street scenes.
  • The child’s verbal language will help develop her comprehension of syntax

Function of Words

The Adjective

Material Description:

A box containing many objects that in some way are related, with a possibility of differentiating them with descriptive adjectives of size and colour e.g. a zoo, farm, circus, house.

The adult’s tray and printed cards or slips with adjective phrases describing each of the objects.  Mark the outside of the box or envelope with the symbol of adjectives (dark blue triangle).  The symbol box contains a few of the symbols for nouns, articles and adjectives.

This box contains the printed slips for the child to work with after each presentation. The symbols are used to show which slips are in the box.

Preliminary Activity:

  • Show an object and ask for adjectives (especially those learnt with the Sensorial activities) also ask questions, ‘Is it dirty?’ ‘What is it made of?’
  • With a group of children describe their clothes, e.g. “Stand up  you have brown shoes.”, “Older children stand by the wall”, “Put your hands up if you have blond hair”

Presentation:

Writing the adjective

  • Sit near the farm, take six animals
  • Put the animals, the symbol box and the adult’s tray on the chowki, say, “I am thinking of one of these, I will help you to find out which one”
  • Write the article and noun in graphite, the child reads it and places it
  • Say, “You have the right type of object but I was thinking of something else”
  • Write an adjective describing one specific object in red pencil
  • Let the child read the slip and match it to the exact object
  • Put the article/noun and adjective slips together and let the child read them, they will either read “the horse brown” or “brown the horse”, you reply, “this is not how we say it”
  • Cut the article from the noun and rearrange.  The child now reads, “the brown horse”
  • Repeat with another object

Transposing the words

  • Transpose each of the three words
  • brown the horse
  • horse brown the
  • the horse brown
  • ‘the brown horse’, the child becomes aware of the correct relative position

Symbols

  • Introduce the symbols, described in the introduction.
  • Ask ‘Which is the word that tells us what object I want?’  Place the black triangle over the word ‘horse’
  • Ask ‘Which is the word that tells us specific kind of horse I want?’  Place the dark blue triangle over the word ‘brown’
  • Ask ‘Which is the word that tells us whether there are one or more brown horses?’  Place the light blue triangle over the word ‘the’
  • Repeat this sequence for another object

Printed Slips

  • Take out a few printed slips, put them in a column.  The child reads them one at a time and brings the corresponding article fro the farm
  • Say, “We cannot cut these slips but we can write our own and cut them”, encourage the child make her own phrase describing clothes, favourite items and then transpose and use symbols, either drawing and colouring them or cutting and sticking them above the word.

Exercises:

  1. The child’s activity above
  2. Look for adjectives in books – the child can list the ones she finds
  3. Write a composition and underline the adjectives

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise the function and the sequence of the words in a phrase.  In this case highlighting the adjective
  • The child explores her language
  • Further reading practice

Indirect Aim:

  • Further grammar work

Age at Presentation:

  • Around four and a half, when the child begins to read phonetically

Footnote:

  • The objects are displayed on a special table with a backdrop.  They are not to be played with but are to be used for these activities.
  • Change the slips often, at the same time change those for the conjunction and preposition

Function of Words

Logical Adjective Game

Material Description:

Have a box with two groups of ten to twelve words, distinguished using different colours.  On each black card a noun is printed and on each blue cards there is an adjective, capable of describing the nouns. On the box containing these have the symbol of an adjective.

The symbol box with the symbols for the noun family

Presentation:

  • Let the child read the cards with the nouns and placed them in two columns
  • Place all of the blue adjective cards to the right, pass her one at a time and let her read it and place it at random to the left of any noun, explaining any unfamiliar words.
  • Let her read all of the noun phrases, as some are nonsense they will amuse her
  • For the ones which have meaning for the child leave the blue cards in place, for the ones she finds not to make sense stack the cards in a pile on the extreme right.
  • Take one of these cards at a time and let the child choose a noun which is could be meaningfully paired with
  • When all of the nouns and adjectives have been paired read them, the child will understand the meaning and may notice the syntax
  • The child puts the symbols over the slips

Exercises:

  1. The child’s own activity
  2. Take any noun and see how many adjectives can be logically attached, e.g. ‘sing’ fits with ‘loudly, ‘slowly’ and ‘sweetly’, turn over the adjectives you reject and keep looking for others that fit.
  3. Let the child write adjectives to match the nouns in the environment and those to match slips for ‘Orientation’ games and to label the materials for the ‘Exercises of Practical Life’
  4. The child can write the adverbs above using the Moveable Alphabets II or with coloured pens so that the verb and adverb are in contrasting colours
  5. The child can look for adverbs in newspapers and magazines and underline those she finds

Direct Aim:

  • Further exploration of the adjective, the child understands that more than one adjective can be placed with the same noun.
  • For further reading practice

Age at Presentation:

After the adjective has been introduced

Footnote:

  • When presenting the game let another child watch so that they can play the game together afterwards

Folder Game

Material Description:

Have a folder with two folds made of cardboard, so that three equal portions can be seen.  On the left side write ‘the’ on the top, on the right side have ‘paper’ written.  The folder can have two pockets, in the central portion keep papers with different descriptive words written e.g.’ lined’, ‘green’, ‘dirt’ and have different types of paper to match each adjective and kept in the third pocket, the word ‘paper’ is also written here.

Presentation:

  • Let the child identify the types of paper and read the adjectives written
  • Have a mat at a distance and place the different types of paper on it
  • Let the child read the phrase on the folder e.g. ‘the green paper’
  • The child goes to the mat to collect the green paper, as she does so change the sheet with the adjectives written on, revealing the one below
  • When she returns she rereads the phrase but finds it to be different she goes to the mat to collect this new type of paper, again change the adjective
  • When she returns she rereads the phrase and begins to realise that you are changing it
  • Continue while she finds the game fun
  • Let the child play with a friend

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child become aware of the function of the adjective
  • The child realises that not all adjectives can be used with all nouns

Indirect Aim:

  • Further grammar work

Age at Presentation:

After the logical adjective game

Detective Adjective Game

Material Description:

In a box or envelope have fifty four triangles of different types, e.g. isosceles right angled triangle, isosceles obtuse angled triangle, isosceles acute angled triangle, scalene right angled triangle, scalene obtuse angled triangle, scalene acute angled triangle.

Six of these types are in three sizes, large medium and mall and each of them are in three different colours.

The adult’s tray

A set of printed cards with the all the different adjectives used, e.g. ‘small’, ‘acute’, ‘pink’ etc.  Have the article ‘the’ and noun ‘triangle’ written in different colours,

The noun family symbol box

Presentation:

  • Tell the child, “You are going to be a detective, I will give you some clues.  From all of these triangles you are going to find the one I want”
  • Identify the names of all the types of triangle – isolating those that have the same shape, also tell the child that the triangles are in three different colours and sizes
  • Let the child spread out the triangles on the mat
  • With the adult’s tray, write,‘the triangle”
  • The child chooses a triangle and gives it to you, tell her, “That is a triangle, but it is not the one I am thinking of, I will give you another clue”.
  • Write ‘small/medium/large’ and show her the slip, ask her to put away those triangles which are of the wrong size
  • The child passes a triangle of the right size, this time say, “That is a triangle and it is the right size, but it is not the one I want, I will give you another clue”
  • Write a colour and show her the slip, ask her to put away those triangles which are of the wrong colour
  • The child passes a triangle of the right size, this time say, “That is a triangle and it is the right size, and colour but it is not the one I want, I will give you another clue”
  • Write a type of triangle and show her the slip, ask her to put away those triangles which are of the wrong shape
  • The child passes the correct triangle
  • Put the slips together and read the phrase
  • Cut the article from the noun and rearrange.  The child now reads, “the small, pink, right angled isosceles triangle”
  • Repeat with another object

Transposing the words

  • Transpose each of the slips, revealing which can be rearrange and which cannot.  The child realises that adjectives can be in any order but the article and noun cannot.

Symbols

  • Place the symbols over the slips asking the questions as in the presentation of the adjective

Printed Slips

  • Let the child use the printed slips, she finds that ‘the’ and ‘triangle’ must go at opposite ends, ‘bookending’ the adjectives which can be placed in any order
  • Place the slips face down in the above order, the child turns over one set at a time and finds the triangle described by the phrase

Exercises:

  • Let the child choose any triangle and then place the slips to describe it

Direct Aim:

  • To highlight the power of the adjective to single out one attribute from many objects with similar characteristics

Age at Presentation:

Around four and a half, after the Folder Game

Function of Words

The Conjunction

Material Description:

A set of flowers tied together with a pink ribbon, alternatively use pencils or other objects.  Keep these in the adult’s area.

The adult’s tray

Box of symbols with the conjunction symbol on it

Printed slips with farm phrases

For the child’s activity use objects which are in some way related and ones from the farm, zoo or dolls house, and not just a usual part of the Casa.  Have cards with ‘and’ printed

Preliminary Activity:

With a small group give examples of things which are commonly paired with ‘and’ e.g. two friends names, ‘socks and shoes’, ‘dustpan and brush’

Presentation:

  • Bring the materials to the chowki
  • Let the child identify the colours of the flowers and undo the ribbon, go with the child to place the flowers around the room
  • Write on a slip ‘the pink flowers’, pass it to the child who reads the slip and fetches them – matching the flower with the slip at the chowki
  • Write on a slip ‘the yellow flowers’, pass it to the child who reads the slip and fetches them – matching the flower with the slip at the chowki
  • Write on a slip ‘the blue flowers’, pass it to the child who reads the slip and fetches them – matching the flower with the slip at the chowki
  • With a coloured pencil write ‘and’ on two slips
  • Arrange the slips to read, ‘the pink flowers and the yellow flowers and the blue flowers’, as the child reads it emphasise the word ‘and’ and bring the mentioned flowers together in a bunch, tie the flowers.  This reveals the meaning of the conjunction, ‘to join’

Transposing the words

  • Transpose each of the slips, revealing that the conjunction can be in any order without changing the meaning

Symbols

  • Place the symbols over the noun and adjective slips. Ask the questions, “Which word told you that the flowers are joined together?”, the child places the conjunction symbols over the words ‘and’

Printed Slips

Put the slips on the chowki, take any two phrases putting, ‘and’ between them, the child reads and brings the animals from the farm.  Remind the child that she cannot cut the cards but can make her own, transpose them and put the symbols above

Exercises:

  • Encourage children to write their own phrases and use writing samples

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise the function and the sequence of the words in a phrase.  In this case highlighting the conjunction
  • The child explores her language
  • Further reading practice

Indirect Aim:

  • Further grammar work

Age at Presentation:

Around four and a half years, after the noun and adjective have been introduced

Footnote:

When writing the slips leave sufficient space for the symbols to be placed

Function of Words

The Preposition

Material Description:

Have objects which will allow you to use the preposition, e.g. flowers in a vase or pencils in a box

The adult’s tray

Symbol box with the preposition symbol on the box

Printed slips with farm phrases ad some prepositions e.g. ‘under’, ‘in front of’, ‘above’, ‘below’, ‘near’ etc

Preliminary Activity:

  • With a small group give sentences e.g. ‘stand beside the table’, put the pencil on the table’ and let the children discover and interpret the preposition
  • Take two objects from the farm and try al the prepositions to see which make sense and which do not, e.g. ‘put the horse beside the tree’, ‘put the horse on the tree’

Presentation:

  • Bring the material to the chowki and writ on a long slip, ‘the stout teapot and the daintily milk jug and the delicate sugar bowl and the cup and saucer and the petty napkin’
  • The child reads the slip and places the objects together
  • Write ‘the lovely tray’
  • The child reads this and puts the slip with the tray
  • Write ‘on’ in red pencil and put this at the end of the long slip, with the slip about the tray after it

Transposing the words

  • Transpose each of the slips, revealing that the meaning of the preposition comes from the word order

Symbols

  • Place the symbols over the noun, adjective and conjunction slips. Ask the questions, “Which word told you where to put the objects?”, the child places the preposition symbol over the words ‘on’

Printed Slips

  • Give printed slips which can have meaning and let the child organise them, e.g. ‘the pig in the pen’, let the child read and create the scene
  • The child works with the farm and the printed slips she reads each phrase and puts it is a list, in a column
  • Give her two preposition slips at a time, some maybe omitted if they are not useful for this context
  • Let the child collect the necessary items from the farm and organise the slips  meaningfully, and then create the scene with the animals
  • Let the child use the symbols to place over the slips and give her more prepositions to continue repeating the activity with

Exercises:

  • The child writes her own phrases with prepositionsEncourage her to make her own booklets with samples

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise the function and the sequence of the words in a phrase.  In this case highlighting the preposition
  • The child explores her language
  • Further reading practice

Indirect Aim:

  • Further grammar work

Age at Presentation:

Around four and a half years after the conjunction

Function of Words

The Verb

Material Description:

The farm animals, the felt mat, Verb Box I containing ten to twelve red cards with verbs printed, marked with the verb symbol.

Adult’s tray

Symbol box, with the symbol of the verb

2 chowkis

Preliminary Activity:

  • Use the Action Cards and let each child in a small group perform the actions, e.g. “Jack, will you jump?”

Presentation:

  • Bring the material to the chowki
  • Asks the child to bring the farm animals and place them on a felt mat on a chowki to the side of the one you are using
  • Write a verb with the red pencil and give it to the child e.g. ‘laugh’, the child reads and performs the action
  • Ask, “Can you bring me laugh?”, the child says, “no”, “Can you do it?”, the child says, “yes”
  • Write a verb with the red pencil and give it to the child e.g. ‘walk’, the child reads and performs the action
  • Ask, “What did you do?”, the child says, “walk”. Ask, “Can you see walk?”, the child says, “no”, “Where is walk?”, the child says, “It’s no-where”
  • Continue asking questions to help the child understand that once an action is performed it is gone, it cannot be held or manipulated

Symbols

  • Show the verb symbol asking, “Which word told you what to do?”, the child places the verb symbol over the verbs

Printed Slips

  • Give printed slips and let the child read and perform them
  • Encourage her to ask the question and place the symbol over the slips
  • Encourage her to write her own verbs and either paste or draw the symbols above

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise the function and the sequence of the words in a phrase.  In this case highlighting the verb
  • The child explores her language
  • Further reading practice

Indirect Aim:

  • Further grammar work

Age at Presentation:

Around five years after the preposition

Footnote:

The child realises the difference between energy and matter.

If the child finds this difficult to grasp later use a vehicle, let it move and be energetic. Show that it moves temporarily but that even when it stops moving it remains matter.

Function of Words

The Adverb

Material Description:

A box containing adverb commands with the symbol for adverbs and the numeral I marked onto it

The adult’s tray

Preliminary Activity:

  • With a group of children give actions and let them perform as for the verb, then introduce an adverb that will change the manner in which they perform the verb

Presentation:

  • Write a verb in graphite and a suitable adjective in red pencil, e.g.. ‘laugh loudly’
  • Let the child read the slip and perform it with a dramatic movement
  • Give further examples, e.g. ‘talk quietly’, move stealthily’, ‘smile tenderly’, ‘walk sadly’

Transposing the words

  • Transpose each of the slips, revealing that the meaning of the adverb rarely comes from the word order

Symbols

  • Place the symbol for the verb over the slips. Ask the questions, “Which word told you how the action is done?”, the child places the adverb symbol over the adverb

Printed Slips

  • Give printed slips which can have meaning and let the child organise them, e.g. ‘laugh loudly, turn abruptly’, let the child read and create the scene

Exercises:

  • Encourage her to write her own verb phrases and either paste or draw the symbols above
  • She can also look for adverbs in books and copy them, marking on the symbols and underline those she finds in newspapers and magazines

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child realise the function and the sequence of the words in a phrase.  In this case highlighting the adverb
  • The child explores her language
  • Further reading practice

Indirect Aim:

  • Further grammar work

Age at Presentation:

Around five years after the verb

Footnote:

THIS IS ALSO A PREPARATION FOR A DRAMATIC ACTIVITY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE EXACT MEANING OF WORDS, SENTENCES AND SYNTAX

Logical Adverb Game

Material Description:

In a box have a set of red cards with verbs written and another set of orange cards with adverbs, they should connect with each other.

The symbol box, labeled with the symbol for the adverb and the numeral II

Presentation:

  • Let the child read the cards with the verbs and placed them in two columns
  • Place all of the orange adjective cards to the right, pass her one at a time and let her read it and place it at random to the left of any noun, explaining any unfamiliar words.
  • Let her read all of the verb phrases, as some are nonsense they will amuse her
  • For the ones which have meaning for the child leave the orange cards in place, for the ones she finds not to make sense stack the cards in a pile on the extreme right.
  • Take one of these cards at a time and let the child choose a verb which it could be meaningfully paired with
  • When all of the verbs and adverbs have been paired read them, the child will understand the meaning and may notice the syntax
  • The child puts the symbols over the slips

Exercises:

  1. The child’s own activity
  2. Take any verb and see how many adjectives can be logically attached, e.g. ‘sing’ fits with ‘loudly, ‘slowly’ and ‘sweetly’, turn over the adverbs you reject and keep looking for others that fit.
  3. Keep Action Cards in the environment and let the child write adverbs to go with them
  4. The child can write the adverbs above using the Moveable Alphabets II or with coloured pens so that the verb and adverb are in contrasting colours
  5. The child can look for adverbs in newspapers and magazines and underline those she finds

Direct Aim:

  • Further exploration of the adverb, the child understands that more than one adverb can be placed with the same verb.
  • For further reading practice

Age at Presentation:

After the introduction to the adverb

Footnote:

This activity helps the child understand the emotional content of writing

Interpretive Reading (Dramatic Reading)

Material Description:

Have an envelope or box with written extracts from Classics.  Have them first with one action an the longer sentences with two and then more actions

Note:

The child has to pay exact attention to there aspects of this activity

  1. To the exact meaning of words
  2. To the exact meaning of whole sentences
  3. To the order of the words in the sentence, because the exact meaning is derived from this.  The child not only performs the action but outwardly expresses her feelings, arousing the emotions within herself, her mind deeply penetrates into what she reads.  It helps the child to prepare herself to understand the whole meaning of the sentence and the order of the words, especially when two or more actions are involved.

Presentation:

  • Link the slips to the literature they have been taken from which has previously been discussed with the children
  • Bring the materials to a small group of children at a chowki and let one child silently read a slip
  • When the child believes she has understood it, she performs the action described on the slip
  • The other children watch the action
  • Describe the action and relate it to the slip, which you read out loud
  • Let each child, in turn, take a slip and perform it, let the audience explain what they see the performer do
  • Read the slips and relate the performance and what the audience saw to it
  • Begin with slips describing one action later use slips which describe two and then more actions

Direct Aim:

  • Preparation for drama

Age at Presentation:

After the child has been introduced to the verb and adverb

Games with the Verb

Transitive and Intransitive 

Presentation:

  • With a group of children pass one child a slip with a intransitive verb, e.g. ‘walk’
  • Let the child read the slip and perform the action, if she stops ask her to continue
  • Write a transitive verb phrase and pass it to another child, e.g. ‘roll the mat’, let the child perform the action
  • Give a third child a transitive verb phrase and pass it to another child, e.g. ‘unfold the napkin’, let the child perform the action
  • The child will see the difference between the types of verbs (do not explicitly teach the terms)

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child recognise that verbs without objects (intransitive) continue and verbs with objects (transitive) stop after completion.

Change of Tense

Presentation:

  • Write a phrase, e.g. ‘bring a book’, ask the child to repeat the phrase, “I am bring a book” while she completes the action
  • When the child brings it to you ask her to say, “I have brought the book”
  • Write a phrase, e.g. ‘open the door’, ask the child to repeat the phrase, “I am opening the door” while she completes the action
  • When the child brings it to you ask her to say, “I have opening the door”
  • The child realises that the present tense lasts as long as the action takes to complete, once it is finished it becomes the past tense

Direct Aim:

  • When an action is over it goes into the past tense

Actions without bodily movements

Presentation:

  • Write a phrase, e.g. ‘think a thought’, ask the child complete the action
  • After a pause ask the child, “What did you do?”
  • The child replies, “I thought a thought”
  • Tell the child, “Now you are talking”
  • The child realises that some verbs refer to unseen mental processes

Direct Aim:

  • The child realises that some verbs refer to actions we cannot see

Footnote:

These aspects of the verb are not introduced together

Extension to the Verb (Command Cards)

Material Description:

There are four boxes, each containing ten to twelve commands

Box II with the verb symbol has simple commands with one action, e.g. ‘open the door’, ‘clean the floor’, ‘sing a song’

Box III with the verb symbols has commands for two sequential actions, e.g. ‘stand and walk’

Box IV has two sequential actions and one object, e.g. ‘bend and lift the letter’

Box V has two sequential actions and two objects, e.g. ‘throw out the water and dry the glass’

Symbol box

Adult’s tray

Presentation:

Box II

  • Write two identical slips and pass the child one, keep the other behind as a control
  • Let the child read the slip and ask her, “How many actions are mentioned?”, ask the child to place the verb symbol over every verb she can see and then act it out
  • Take the slip, cut it and transpose it, let the child arrange it and compare the meaning she forms with the control
  • Let the child take a printed slip, place the symbol over it, copy it, cut it, transpose and reconstruct it
  • Let the child use more printed slips in this way and then encourage her to write her own commands or ask a pair of children to write commands for each other.

Box III

  • As above, discuss how some commands make better sense in a certain sequence even though grammatically they may be correct, e.g. if the child is sitting it makes more sense for her to ‘Stand up and walk’

Box IV and V

  • As for Box III

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child become aware of different aspects of the verb and the syntax required for meaning

Indirect Aim:

  • To prepare for reading analysis and further understanding of syntax

Age at Presentation:

Around five years, after the adverb and verb games

Related



XyliBox: NetWire first Multi-platform RAT


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