Everything that has been worked with up until this time with Practical Life and Sensorial materials will eventually help the child to read. Indirect preparation in the language area is also of importance for reading. By doing the Sandpaper Letters, Sound Games, and the Moveable Alphabet, the child is getting direct preparations for reading.
Dr. Montessori viewed the written language as part of the child’s culture. Mastery of writing and reading makes it possible for the child to see the wonders that come from the thoughts of others and the enjoyment that comes from finding out those things we are highly interested in.
Reading should be an exciting discovery and can occur in a similar way as the child discovered writing. He may be looking at what he has written and realize that he can read what he wrote. When reading is discovered rather than taught, the child can have a lifelong love of reading.
Reading allows the child to connect with the thoughts of others from the past and the present. It helps the child develop his personality and intellect. The child will read to get information in the same way they see the older children and adults do.
There are two stages of reading. The first is the child learning the mechanics of reading. He or she will be given the experience needed to master the language. By seeing the symbols and putting the sounds together, will eventually build a word that has meaning. The second stage is when the child reaches the level of total reading. This means the child is “interpret reading”. At this level the child doesn’t read word by word by word, but reads phrases and sentences and gets the full understanding of these. The reading program offers grammar and syntax that helps the child interpret what he reads. At this level the child grasps the whole meaning of the text.
Total reading is mastering a skill, which is a necessary social tool. This skill will not only be used in reading books, but in every day communication. Arrival at the total reading level depends upon absorption of a varied and rich language environment, which the Montessori classroom strives to give to each child.