By Cathie Perolman
Read more about Cathie’s process for practicing letter sounds here:
Once a child has mastered some letters and is able to blend sounds into words he is ready for some “heavy duty” work with three letter short vowel words. As I visit schools and support interns and seasoned guides alike many are interested in the optimal combination of practice and variety to help children sustain their interest and achieve reading fluency. Over the course of my career I have put together the children’s favorite activities and organized them into a set of hardware drawers. Children in our class work through these activities. (In my class all short vowel work is printed onto yellow cardstock and we refer to these as the “Yellow Reading Drawers”.)
Each row of drawers practices phonetically regular three letter short vowel words focusing a single vowel. The bottom row practices single words with all the vowels mixed together and the last two drawers incorporate some early Puzzle Words and work on Short Sentences.
Just like with the Color Coded Sound Games Program, each of the activities exist for each vowel.
(Notice that the colors of the dots of the drawers are the same as the colors of the vowels in the Color Coded Sound Games.) Here are the activities in the drawers:
Building Words with the Movable Alphabet
Children build pictures with the movable alphabet. Each set contains 8 pictures which seems a reasonable amount of work for children at this level. Children record their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your class.
Matching Objects to Words
Children match labels to objects focusing on a single medial vowel.
Children record their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your class.
Matching Pictures with Words
Children match labels to pictures forcing on a single medial vowel. Each set contains 8 pictures and words to match. Children record their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your class.
Matching 9 Words to a Big Card
Children match labels to a big card with 9 pictures focusing on a single medial vowel. They place the corresponding labels under the picture, Children record their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your
Reading a One Word Booklet
Children read a One Word Booklet focusing on a single vowel. Children record their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your class.
Reading Word Family Cards
Children read Word Family cards aloud. Children record their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your class.
Moving on to Sentences
Once the child has been introduced to their first few Puzzle Words, they are ready to Work with Short Sentences.
Children read short sentences and match them to the corresponding picture. Children record a small portion of their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your class.
Reading Short Sentence Booklets
Children read short sentences corresponding to a picture. Children record a small portion of their work in their recording booklet if that is the culture of your class.
Use of the Recording Book
We create recording booklets for our children. They record their work in the booklets. There is a page for each activity. Some children record every word and some record fewer. It depends on the needs of the child. The front cover of the booklet looks like the drawers and the child colors in the number according to the colored dot on the front of the drawer when they have completed a drawer. This is a system that children can and love to maintain. It helps them (and us) stay organized and creates a frame of reference for parents as well. As the work is progressing and the child is coloring in the numbers for the drawers completed, the colors create a rainbow. Children find this both encouraging and motivating.
If you’d like to recreate these materials for your class or homeschool, you can get your hands on all of Cathie’s printables. She has put them together on a CD with a detailed instruction manual. I think they’re fantastic and will save you a ton of time… specially if you’re just starting to put your language program together! You can get more details and some free printables on CathiePerolman.com. Or, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions!
About Cathie Perolman
Cathie Perolman has been involved in Montessori education for over three decades. She has a BS in Early Childhood Education and a M.Ed in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. She has spent time working as a reading specialist as well as teaching students preschool through college.
She began her Montessori journey as a classroom assistant, and worked as a classroom directress, 3-6 team leader, teacher trainer and college professor.
Cathie is the author of Practical Special Needs For the Montessori Method: A Handbook for 3-6 Teachers and Homeschoolers and the creator of Hands on Phonics : a phonics based system of teaching reading to young children. She is a regular contributor to Tomorrow’s Child and Tomorrow’s Leadership magazines.
Cathie currently conducts workshops for teachers and administrators, works as a teacher trainer for various training centers across the country and as a school consultant. She currently co-teaches a Primary class at Nurturing Nest Montessori School in Columbia, MD. Cathie has been married to Gary for 34 years and they have two adult children and an adorable granddaughter!