The Montessori picture cards are a great way to teach children about the basics of reading, through the use of self-correcting cards that match particular words with particular images. Because the cards are self-correcting, the Montessori picture cards can be used by children all by themselves, without supervision. Just make sure that you instruct the children on how to use the cards, and they should be able to learn and have fun at the same time with the cards. Here’s how.
- Basics. First of all, you need to give the children information on when to use the Montessori picture cards, and where these cards can be found. If you are a teacher who handles a group of children, place the cards in an accessible place such as the library, or in the classroom. If you are a parent, however, you should place the cards somewhere accessible at home, such as in a quiet room where the child can use the cards. The cards should not be in the bedroom, however, because there are usually too many distractions in a child’s bedroom, such as the bed and the various toys scattered around.
- Teaching the children the mechanics. Now, tell the children about how they can use the cards. Basically, there are two sets of cards in the Montessori system. One set of cards has pictures, while the other set of cards has words. Each word corresponds to one picture, and there are hooks that are attached to the cards so that each picture card will correspond with only one word card. This way, the child can check whether he pronounces a word correctly, by attaching the corresponding picture card.
- Pronunciation. Give emphasis on not just recognizing the words, but knowing how to pronounce the letters in the words. Make sure that you instruct the children to read out loud each word. Reading out loud reinforces the words that the children are learning, and helps them make reading a more concrete activity. If there are certain difficult words, make sure that you teach the correct way of pronouncing the words first.
- Show examples. During the first time that the children will use the Montessori picture cards, it is best that you demonstrate first with a couple of the cards. Take the word card, and then pronounce the words. Afterwards, find the corresponding picture card and hook it to the word card, to show the children how to check whether they were correct or not.
- Step back. After you have demonstrated, let the children do the rest of the exercises. Remember, supervision is at a bare minimum when the children are using Montessori picture cards. The whole philosophy behind Montessori teaching is that the children should have the initiative and opportunity to learn by themselves, after all.
With these in mind, you should be able to use the Montessori picture cards to help your child learn how to read and how to pronounce words correctly. Best of all, your child learns all by himself and gets the chance to see that learning can be fun too.