I love the early language development area of my classroom! There is a lot of foundational work that comes before children are introduced to letters. Today’s post is about the kinds of activities we have on our pre-literacy or early language Montessori shelves.
This is a photo of the Language area of our class (the “book area” is not shown in this image). The shelves are placed in a U shape around an area rug. The materials are set out in a left-right sequence starting with the simplest and moving to the most advanced. Most of the shelves focus on literacy and writing. This post is about that one shelf on the left which is dedicated to pre-literacy activities.
The Language Area
Our Pre-Literacy or Early Language Shelf has the following types of activities:
Oral Language Development
- Vocabulary development with Montessori nomenclature cards (often used in the form of 3-part cards)
- Inferencing and comprehension by using picture cards and question cards
- Function of word games (e.g. learning positional words etc.)
We use visual matching skills in many areas of the classroom, but I usually place cards and objects on this shelf
- Matching objects
- Matching pictures (variations such as matching shadows, matching outlines, matching close-ups etc.)
Classification activities also fit well into themes and often find their way onto our Cultural shelves. But you’ll usually find one or more of the following on our Language shelves too:
- Things that go together
- Putting a series of pictures in order. Retelling a story.
- Word awareness activities
- Working with beginning sounds (I Spy, sorting, matching etc.)
- Working with ending sounds (I Spy, sorting, matching etc.)
- Working with middle sounds (I Spy, sorting)
- Phoneme segmenting and blending activities
- Phoneme substitution (sometimes we’ll pull these out, but children who are ready for this are usually readers already)
So here’s a peek at what this shelf looks like all year long. Click the links below to go to blog posts with more details and photos of all the activities.
August/Beginning of the Year
At the beginning of the year we put out a lot of object matching, picture matching, and vocabulary development work. Our goal is to focus on layout procedures and give the children things they can manipulate with their hands. I don’t have a blog post for the beginning of the year yet.
After the first few weeks of school, the shelf starts to look like it will for the rest of the year. I don’t have a blog post for my September activities yet, but our themes tend to be Apples and the Farm. These usually involve words that children are already familiar with so we can focus on teaching the procedures of how to use these materials.
You can read more details and see photos of all our October Language activities in the following posts:
In November our early language materials follow themes of Fall, Leaves, and Thanksgiving. Check out the details in the following posts:
We just have a few weeks of school in December and we try to pack in some Winter Holidays onto our shelves this month. See more details in the posts below:
January is all about winter! The following posts have more details with our Language activities for January:
For February I made a set of “Valentine Vehicle” themed activities so my little friends who don’t like pink and purple very much don’t feel so left out! Check out the details in the following posts:
In March we typically have some St. Patrick’s Day themed activities. More details below:
By April we are fully into Spring and this lovely season is evident on all our shelves! See the followingblog post for a closer look at many of our spring Language activities:
In May we often talk about all kinds of bugs. I don’t have a post detailing our early language shelves in May, but you can see some of our Bug themed activities here:
More Language Activities
The following posts go into a little more detail about some of the other shelves in our Language Area:
Click the images for details. (Affiliate links may be included in this post. See full disclosures here.)