- Language, 4-5+
- The Blue Language Series is a continuation of the The Pink Language Series. Dr. Montessori’s approach to early literacy was developed within the Italian language, which is a more of a phonetic language than the English language.
- Therefore, when the Montessori method grew in popularity in the United States, it was clear that an adaption to the English language was necessary. English contains a rich variety of phonemes (sounds), written in numerous graphemes (o, oo, ew, ue, u_e, oe, ough, ui, ou). The Blue Language Series addresses the peculiar aspects of the English language by offering a systematic approach to each specific letter cluster.
- While the Pink Series introduces basic phonetic CVC words such a “cat,” “bed,” “mop,” the Blue Series introduces Blends (bl-, str, fl-….) and Diagraphs (ay, oo, th, sh…).
- The Blue Language Series from Alison’s Montessori is presented in this post. The Blue Language Series Cabinet help organize all the materials of the Blue Series. An economical storage solution is also offered. This series includes complete instructions on how to organize and present the materials in a logical sequence. Each card contains a reference, ensuring that the materials can be reorganized properly. The Blue Language Series presentations are similar to the ones from the Pink Language Series; therefore, children are already familiar with the work. The laminated version is thick and glossy, and will certainly withstand years of usage. Please find an overview of each step of the Blue Language Series below.
Step 1: Introduction to Initial Blends: “I Spy”
- “I Spy” is a work used through the beginning of the series to introduce all new letter blends (-nk, cl-, str-…_) and diagraphs (ay, oo, ue…) using moveable letters. The child is invited to merge two moveable letters and discover the blends presented (see picture above).
- Following this sound work, Blends Cards will be aligned at the top, and Picture Cards will be matched to its respective Blends Card.
Step 2: Introduction to Ending Blends: “I Spy”
- Step 2 is the same presentation as Step 1 using ending blends such as -ft (lift), -ct (contact), -pt (erupt) (see picture below).
- The English language contains 2-3 consonant clusters at the beginning (STR-ike), middle (ho-SP-ital), and ending (Bli-MP) of words. It is essential to formally teach new readers to break words down into their component phonemes. Breaking down words systematically can alleviate learning challenges such as dyslexia.
Step 3: Introduction to Consonant Diagraphs: “I Spy”
- Diagraphs, also known as Phonograms, are a series of grouped letters that form one new sound when together: ay, oy, oo, ue, au, ou, ph, th, ch, ph…
- This step is presented the same way as Step 2, and Step 3 with the difference that children won’t be blending sounds. They will be provided the sounds of the diagraphs without sounding each letter.
Step 4: Pictures and Words One-on-one Correspondence
- Pictures and Words is a set of pairs used to associate pictures to words previously studied (see picture above). This practice encourages the child to decode words, while the picture serves as a control. Ex: the child my read “f-l-a-g” and see the picture of a flag in the pool of pictures. This confirms that the word was read correctly.
Step 5: Rhyming Word Cards With Word Lists Mats
- This work contains 3 sets of mats and cards. Children can work independently on matching the Rhyming Word Cards to the appropriate Word List Mats. Each mat contains a picture to aid the child classify the rhyming words. This time, the focus in on words with similar phonemic characteristics: cash, flash, crash, smash…
Step 6: Consonant Blends and Diagraphs Booklets
- Children read booklets containing a series of blends or diagraphs. The cards are written in black characters, rather than using red to emphasis the blends or diagraphs. This is a transitional work to reading outside the Montessori materials.
Step 7: Word Lists
- Word Lists are quite straightforward. Children can read them at their own pace. Word Lists offer the repetition and consistency needed for retention. The blend or diagraph studied can be found at the top of each list, as well as a picture for additional help: pr- is represented by a printer picture.
Step 8: Vowel Substitution
- The Vowel Substitution work provides an opportunity for children to experience nonsensical words and use their own judgement. They read a series of words using blends and diagraphs, and sometimes a mix of both: spl__s, br__ck.
Step 9: Command Cards
- Command Cards are action words containing blends and diagraphs. Just as with the Pink Series, a set of Command Cards are spread out facing down. An adult selects a card and perform the action. Once the action is guessed, the card is read aloud.
Step 10: Command Sentences
- Command Sentences is just like Command Cards, except that the Command Sentences include action words followed by nouns. 9 cards are placed facing down, an adult acts out the command, while children guess the action. The card is read once the child has guessed correctly.
Step 11: Pictures and Sentences Matching Cards
- Pictures and Sentences Cards allow the child to read complete sentences with blends and diagraphs in context. The Sentence Cards are matched to the Picture Cards to serve as control for error. This presentation is the last of the Blue Language Series.
- In conclusion, the Blue Language Series is a step-by-step reading program that offers a scaffolded access to learning. Each step either introduces or reinforces a phonetic component. Following simple presentations, a child will be able to work independently with the materials until mastery is achieve. The child can be working on both the Pink Series and the Blue Series concurrently. When the child shows sign of mastery in most of the Blue Series components, she can be introduced to the first components of the final series, The Green Language Series.
I hope this post was clear and concise enough for you to appreciate the series functionality and effectiveness. This review has been made possible, thanks to Alison’s Montessori, which provided me a set at no cost. I strive to present materials that are science-based, and respectful of the child’s emotional and cognitive development. Thank you for reading me. Please leave your comments or questions below, I will be glad to answer you!
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