The Montessori Reading Program
The key to learning how to read
History & Development
The Montessori Reading Program
 developed by Marianne Calnan

My husband John and I settled in Perth, Western Australia where we founded a small Montessori school for 3-6 year old children in 1975.

Amongst the educational materials we bought for the school were sandpaper letters and a movable alphabet with which the children made phonetic words.
It soon became obvious that the children needed books to practice the letters and words they had learned. So I set about making booklets using old greeting cards as covers so that the children could take a book home every day.
The booklets became so popular that one day, at the end of term, when I did not put any books out to take home, some of the children came to me crying, asking for a reading book. I wondered - children being upset because they did not get reading books to take home? I took this as a compliment and decided to make many more books - letter books, word books and sentence books. However, soon it became evident that the most enjoyable way to learn to read was by reading stories.
 

Once again I set to work, this time writing stories fitting in with the children's first limited, and then gradually expanding, reading vocabulary - 100 stories in all.
Meanwhile John, who had worked in the printing and advertising industry, suggested that he would be able to print the now complete reading program and set out designing and printing the books.

It was exciting to see all the colourful booklets published at last.
The brand new Montessori Reading Program took over twenty years to evolve and we wish to thank all the children who helped create it.

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