Words are made up of different sounds. When we read and write, we identify and assemble letter sounds into words so that we can understand. This ability to decode words is called Phonics. Our phonics program offers a multi-sensory approach to learning. This program helps the preschooler to build a strong foundation in phonics essential for reading and writing. It comprises of 3 schemes: Pink, Blue and Green.
The Pink Scheme
The sandpaper letters is the first activity in this series and introduces the child to phonetic sounds of the alphabet through a three-period lesson. After the child has mastered the use of phonetic sounds and is able to identify letters by sight, the sandpaper letters are replaced by another interesting tool called the Large Movable Alphabet (LMA). With this activity, he/she learns to fuse 3 letter sounds to form words. The child soon realizes that he/she has graduated out of the sandpaper letters and is now manipulating real looking letters.
This LMA activity helps the child to build his/her vocabulary of three letter words. After much work with the large movable alphabets the child moves on to metal insets of geometrical shapes. He/She outlines the shape of the frame on a paper and fills it with straight parallel lines using coloured pencils. This activity improves his dexterity, hand eye coordination and concentration. It also develops and strengthens his/her muscular control required to wield a pencil much later.
The next few activities with Large Movable Alphabets (LMAs) and objects or picture boxes involve associating the word formed using the LMA to its object or picture cards. Gradually LMAs are replaced by reading cards. The child learns to match reading cards with the objects and pictures. As the child progresses comfortably, he/she moves on to reading exercises with three or four letter words using word lists, booklets, sight words, sentence cards and story booklets. Specially prepared phonetic worksheets for practice work are introduced at this stage.
The Blue Scheme
Once the child has mastered the phonetic sounds in Pink scheme, he is ready to move on to the Blue scheme where he/she is introduced to five or six letter words comprising of consonant blends such as bl, fr, st etc. The Blue scheme now contains longer words with consonant blends which gradually become more complex. A child who is familiar with all the blends and can easily spell most of the words in the Blue scheme, is ready for the Grey scheme.
The Grey Scheme
In this scheme, the child is invited to explore a small model of a farm complete with miniature animals and other items typically seen in a farm along with some Montessori Grammar Boxes. Through this farm activity, children practice labeling the objects , building simple combinations of words and then reading aloud their sentences or phrases. Parts of speech such as nouns, articles, adjectives and verbs are taught in this manner. With this activity they learn to perfect their sentences using all the appropriate rules of grammar.
The Green Scheme
The final stage called the Green scheme introduces the child to Phonograms (eg. words that contain ay, ea, ie, igh etc) and their families in the same manner as how he/she was introduced to the consonant blends in the Blue scheme. The materials prepare him/her for phonograms through the use of picture boxes, small movable alphabets (SMA) and picture cards, wordlists, booklets, sentence cards and story booklets.
All the activities in the phonics area are aimed at moving the child to reading and writing. As the child progresses, these lessons put in perspective the order of the symbols, the spacing between words, the comprehension of an idea and the thought process involved in forming a sentence that gradually leads them to read a book independently.