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๐Ÿ’™ BLUE Series /St/ Blending (Montessori 101 Language)

In a Montessori "PBG" Language scheme (Pink-Blue-Green series approach), the child progresses very gradually as s/he is first introduced to three letter words in๐Ÿ’— PINK Series, then blends (/st/, /bl/, /pr/...) in ๐Ÿ’™ BLUE Series, and finally digraphs (/sh/, /th/, /ch/, /oi/...) in ๐Ÿ’š GREEN series.

If you think about it, letters of the alphabet are merely written codes for spoken sounds in words. As such, actual language is, according to Dr. Maria Montessori, an "abstract instrument" -  a "complex cultural achievement." So, letters, being actual codes,  represent something a child first experiences in real life, something s/he encounters in an everyday environment. So, the road to literacy would always start with the spoken language: with sounds and familiar objects that begin with that sound, and only introducing symbols once the child exhibits proficiency with the sound recognition.

The process of learning how to read can be as simple and painless as the process of learning how to speak or how to walk. In a Montessori language curriculum, hands-on phonetic approach is used, which helps young children to form a clear understanding of how written words encode the spoken sounds of the language into the symbolic letters of the alphabet. Using this technique, children master the sounds made by each letter, as well as the letter represented by each sound, one letter at a time until the entire alphabet has been mastered. 

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With Montessori "PBG" Language scheme, once the child masters the ๐Ÿ’— PINK Series, you would gradually move on to BLUE ๐Ÿ’™ Series, which introduces blends. A consonant blend or a cluster is a group of consonants that are next to each other in a word. So today (after having explored the letter "S" during our Letter Hunt/see the link below), we are moving on to the first blend:  /st/ blend, which is two consonants that go together, while you can hear both letters e.g. "s-t" in a word "star." )    
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 A consonant cluster, consonant sequence or consonant compound, in linguistics, is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel.
 
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 /St/  is a consonant cluster in the words: stone, starfish, straw, stamp, stick, sticker.
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Incorporating hands-on approach, in my opinion, facilitates a better absorption of the information presented. So, I offered Adrian four different activities to practice our /st/ blend.
  • stamp with a  star stamp and these amazing colorful ink pad stamps; also stamp with a star-puncher;
  • stain the shaving foam with different colors and use pegs (clothespins) to stain the paper;
  • stick  the star stickers;
  • strain confetti stars from the sand with a small metal strainer.

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As a result of these hands-on practical life activities, Adrian had fun practicing the /st/ blend.

See here "Letter 'S' (Letter ๐Ÿ”  Series). See "Montessori ๐Ÿ’— Pink Series  "e" sound (Language 101 ๐ŸŽฅ Series ๐ŸŽ‡ Curriculum)" here

For more on our Language curriculum and phonetical order sets, read here the introductory post: "Montessori Phonetical Order of presenting ABCs Alphabet letters." For individual letters, read here our ๐Ÿ”  Letter Series (Montessori Language) post.


Letter "S" (Letter ๐Ÿ”  Series)

Although Adrian knows his ABCs, "letter hunts" where he gets to walk around the house with a basket collecting objects that begin with a particular sounds are still one of his favorite activities. Today, we are exploring letter "S" before moving on to blends such as /st/sh/sr/ etc. 

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"S" is for Stitch, sock, stars, sponge, sword, soap, stamp, snake, spinach, Swiss chard, scorpion, seahorse, squirrel, seagull, sailboat, slide & SnowWhite, starfish, scarecrow, skeleton, seal, snowy owl, sea turtle, sand tracing tray, sandpaper letter S, stone, snowmen. (Also, you can add: six, screwdriver, spoon, snow, sun, swing, sidewalk, sprinkler, seesaw, seaweed, sandbox, streetlight, stop sign.)  

DSC_0270We are using Discovery Windows (buy here) to store fragile starfish my Mom had collected for us while in Malaysia.
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DSC_0263S is for sticks, ๐Ÿ”ด๐Ÿ”ทโ—ฝ๏ธshapes like a square, โญ๏ธstars & ๐Ÿ—กswords.
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For more on pin-poking, see "Letter V" post here. 

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"S" is for sand. See here how to make tactile "DIY Sandpaper Letters."

For more on our Language curriculum and phonetical order sets, read here the introductory post: "Montessori Phonetical Order of presenting ABCs Alphabet letters." For individual letters, read here our ๐Ÿ”  Letter Series (Montessori Language) post. For beginning blending, see here "๐Ÿ’™ BLUE Series /St/ Blending (Montessori 101 Language)."


DIY Sandpaper Letter "S" (Montessori ๐Ÿ”  101 Language)

Montessori Sandpaper letters are a traditional language material used to introduce a child to letters and their sounds, but with a twist: besides visual stimulation of perceiving the symbol (seeing the shape commonly agreed upon to represent a particular sound), a child is also able to sensorily feel the shape of the letter as he/she enunciates the name of the letter and the sound it makes.

Although you can purchase sandpaper letters (buy the upper case here or a bundle here or here), they are very easy to make at home. According to Montessori language curriculum guidelines, pink color represents a consonant, while blue - a vowel.

DSC_0210What you will need to make this tactile sandpaper letter:

  • pink cardstock since we are making a consonant letter (you would use blue cardstock for a vowel);
  • sand (you can also use salt, sugar, polenta, Amaranth, or any other tiny grain);
  • and glue.

DSC_0211First, offer a child to squeeze glue following the letter's template. 
DSC_0211Next, pour sand over the glue and let it dry.   DSC_0229

Since we could control how much glue and sand to apply to the template, our tactile sandpaper letter "S" came out even thicker than a traditional one you would purchase, offering a child a more intense sensory experience. 
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See here a โœ‚๏ธDIY ๐Ÿ“ฝ video on how we made sandpaper ๐Ÿ”ข numbers. Also, see here "Letter "S" (๐Ÿ”  Letter Series)" post. 

For more on our Language curriculum and the Phonetical order sets, read here the introductory post: "Montessori Phonetical Order of presenting ABCs Alphabet letters." For individual letters, read here our ๐Ÿ”  Letter Series (Montessori Language) post.


4th (of 6)ย Phonetical Order Set: : h ย j ย u ย l (Montessori ๐Ÿ”ค 101 Language)

In a Montessori language curriculum, alphabet letters are not first presented to a child in an alphabetical order like A, B, C, D, etc. The idea is to introduce letters phonetically (the way they sound) rather than by their name. Phonetical grouping of certain consonants and vowels had proven to be very effective in allowing children to form as many words as possiblequickly. 

There are few Montessori phonetical grouping orders suggested, and we are following the one suggested in How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin (buy the book here, which is a Montessori -beginner must-have book.)

First set:          c  m  a  t          (see here)

Second set:     s  r  i  p           (see here)

Third set:        b  f  o  g         (see here)

Fourth set:     h  j  u  l

Fifth set:       d  w  e  n

Sixth set:      k  q  v  x  y  z. 

 Today, we are replicating the fourth set:  h  j  u  l. 

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We are using a traditional Montessori wooden Movable Alphabet (buy here) with vowels represented by blue color, while consonants by red color. You can also use Sandpaper letters (buy the upper case here or a bundle here or here). Sandpaper letters are very easy to make at home too (see here a โœ‚๏ธDIY ๐Ÿ“ฝ on how we made sandpaper ๐Ÿ”ข numbers). Lastly, you may use any letters: foam, paper or wooden ones you have on hand to introduce these phonetical sets: no specialized Montessori materials are required. DSC_0042

Horse, hen, and a hat for "h"

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 Jam/jar, jug and a Jaguar for "j"

DSC_0045Unicorn, umbrella, and underwear for "u"

DSC_0047Lion, leaf and a lamp for "l"

DSC_0054Tracing letters sensorially on the sand-tray (we are using polenta) allows the child to perceive alphabet letters not only visually, but also through the sense of touch, stimulating the tactile association. The more senses the child triggers during the learning process, the better is the absorption rate of the information perceived.


DSC_0054To make it more interesting, I lined the tray with red cardstock to give tracing a color-pop. 
DSC_0054You can see here a video-post "How ๐ŸŽฅ to Make Montessori Sensorial โœ๏ธTracing Tray."

For more on our Language curriculum and the Phonetical order sets, read here the introductory post: "Montessori Phonetical Order of presenting ABCs Alphabet letters." For individual letters, read here our Letter Series post.


๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐ŸผAdrian's โœ๏ธ Workbooks Round Up (Montessori ๐Ÿ”  Language & ๐Ÿ”ข Math)

I believe that good habits form good character. So, as part of Adrian's daily routine (he has a schedule, just like Julia), he writes/traces in his workbooks. I would not say that writing is his favorite part of the day (he still likes to play), but it is something he got used to doing, and it is how we start our day. The goal is to keep up child's motivation until the behavior becomes a habit (which could take a couple months). Eventually, the habit becomes automatic (even enjoyable) instead of something you need to force your child to do. To keep up the motivation, I offer Adrian various workbooks and he picks according to the current mood: it can be Numbers tracing, Letters tracing, Logic Thinking Skills Workbook (buy here) or Spatial Reasoning (buy here) and so forth. 

FullSizeRender 3Today, Adrian (46 months) wanted to trace numbers.

I like the way KUMON workbook guides the child from the dot to the star, or if there are more than one lines to draw, the book offers sequentially numbered steps of proper tracing. 

FullSizeRender 4 Buy Numbers workbook that Adrian is writing in here.
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Below, see a link to a video of Adrian writing down solved mathematical equation at 3.5 years old.
DSC_0019See here a video "โœ๐Ÿป๏ธWriting Down Solved Equation (Montessori ๐Ÿ”ข Math ๐ŸŽฅ Lesson)."

DSC_0001See here a video post "Refining Straight Lines in ๐Ÿ”  Uppercase Letter-Writing at 39 months," and here where Adrian was tracing in the same workbook, but a month earlier, at 38 months.

Buy KUMON Uppercase letters here and Lowercase letters workbook here ). 

DSC_0014Also, see here a video post "โœ๏ธTracing ABCs ๐Ÿ‹Animal Flash Cards with a๐Ÿ’งWater ๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ Pen."

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Finally, see below the video of Adrian spontaneously beginning to write his name at 37 months! Before that, he was just doodling.

20161207-DSC_0531See a video here "1๏ธโƒฃ First Time โœ๏ธWriting Own name 'Adrian' at 37 months."

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Adrian also loves his BLUE book below (buy here). For girls, there is a similar PINK book (buy here).

DSC_0373.JPGSee here "A โค๏ธFavorite ๐Ÿ“˜ BLUE Book at 36 months." 

My Brilliantly Blue Sticker book (buy here) has been Adrian's absolute favorite since he was two years old because of the diversity of subjects (e.g. transportation, dinosaurs, farm animals, solar system etc.,) hands-on application and many-many bright blue stickers!

Does your child have a favorite workbook or book?

Download ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐ŸผAdrian's ๐Ÿ—’ weekly schedule here

p.s. You might also want to check out our "๐Ÿ”  Letter Series (Montessori Language)" posts here which has a lot of links to letter recognition activities we have been doing since Adrian was two years old.