Teaching Children The Many Elements Of Reading And Writing With Montessori

Teaching Children The Many Elements Of Reading And Writing With Montessori

The Montessori method, known for its unique approach to education, offers a distinctive and effective way of teaching reading and writing that differs markedly from traditional education systems. This method empowers children to discover language through a combination of tactile, visual, and auditory means, catering to various learning styles. This comprehensive blog post explores how the Montessori method facilitates the teaching of reading and writing, emphasizing the development of literacy from an early age.

Understanding the Montessori Method of Teaching Reading and Writing

The Montessori approach to reading and writing is integrative, sensorial, and phonics-based. It begins with cultivating a foundational understanding in young learners that words are made of sounds and that these sounds can be represented by symbols. The Montessori method employs specific didactic materials that progress from simple to complex and concrete to abstract, guiding children through the intricacies of language.

The Montessori Philosophy on Literacy:

Montessori education focuses on teaching reading and writing as a discovery process. Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children have a natural inclination towards language acquisition, which can be supported through an environment that encourages exploration and expression. This environment includes materials that are designed to stimulate the senses, particularly touch and movement, which are critical to Montessori techniques.

Montessori Writing:

In Montessori classrooms, writing precedes reading. Children are introduced to letters and sounds through the use of sandpaper letters, which allow them to feel and trace the shape of each letter, linking the physical sensation with the sound. This tactile method is essential in the Montessori way of teaching, as it engages multiple senses for deeper learning and retention.

The process of writing begins with creating words using the moveable alphabet—a set of letters that children can manipulate to form words. This hands-on approach allows children to experiment with forming words and sentences long before they master the fine motor skills required for handwriting. It emphasizes the idea that writing is a tool for communication, and through this, children learn to express their thoughts in a tangible form.

Montessori Reading:

Reading in the Montessori method follows writing. Once children understand that symbols can be combined to create words, they naturally begin to decode written language. The progression from writing to reading happens seamlessly because, by the time they start reading, children are already familiar with the letters and sounds.

Montessori reading materials, such as picture cards with labels and simple books with large text and few words, encourage children to make connections between what they have learned through writing and the printed words in books. This approach is underpinned by the Montessori philosophy that learning should be an active, rather than passive, process.

How Does Montessori Teach Reading?

Montessori teaches reading through a phonetic and whole language approach. Educators guide children through a series of activities that build upon each other, from sounding out simple consonant-vowel-consonant words to tackling more complex phonetic patterns. Grammar and sentence structure are introduced with similarly engaging materials that allow children to manipulate and explore the functions of words within a sentence.

Challenges and Rewards

Implementing the Montessori Method:

While the Montessori method of teaching reading and writing is highly effective, it requires specific materials and trained educators who understand the philosophy and techniques. The environment must be prepared meticulously to ensure that it meets all learners' needs at various stages of their literacy development.

The Rewards of Montessori Literacy Education:

Children educated in the Montessori way often develop a deep love for reading and writing. They tend to be self-motivated learners who view education as an enjoyable and integral part of life. Moreover, the skills they acquire through Montessori methods—such as independence, critical thinking, and creativity—are invaluable throughout their schooling and beyond.


The Montessori method offers a profound and effective strategy for teaching reading and writing that respects and nurtures the child’s natural learning progression. By engaging with materials that stimulate all senses and encouraging a hands-on approach to literacy, Montessori not only teaches children how to read and write but also how to love learning. As educational paradigms continue to evolve, the timeless principles of Montessori provide a beacon for fostering competent, confident, and independent thinkers prepared to face the world's challenges.

Back to blog