Reading Program Overview (1st - 3rd grades)
The reading program used at MMS is called Phono-Graphix. It is a reading method developed by Read America, based on rigorous research done by the University of South Florida in the field of reading. Phono-Graphix addresses blending, segmenting, code knowledge, auditory processing, multi-syllable management, and word analysis. This program in MMS’s lower elementary provides students with a decoding method that presents the units of sounds (sound pictures) that are contained in words. A sound picture is a letter or group of letters representing a single sound. Unlike phonics, which teaches letter sounds in isolation, Phono-Graphix always teaches them in words so there is meaning. Phono-Graphix also sets the stage for spelling skill proficiency. At the beginning of each school year, every first, second, and third grade student is tested on the first four Phono-Graphix skills mentioned above, and in addition two reading parts of the Woodcock Johnson. The results of these tests are a major factor used in forming the reading groups. They’re also extremely valuable in following the individual progress of each child. The reading/literature program at MMS begins in the preschool years. The children entering our first grade class are usually well prepared and can read simple books. Montessori elementary teachers are trained and are qualified to teach reading to their students. Many other contemporary and complementary programs are incorporated into MMS’ reading curriculum to include Scholastic Reading Assessment (S.R.A.), Reading Counts, Phono-Graphix and Junior Great Books. In addition to the reading activities provided in class, students benefit from direct instruction from a reading teacher/therapist. Our Reading Therapist works daily with individual reading groups. She works on code knowledge, decoding skills, multi-syllable management, word analysis, vocabulary, comprehension and expression using a variety of book styles to interest and challenge students. First and second graders have daily half hour formal reading group time. Third grade students attend twice a week according to his or her reading level. The books chosen for reading class discussion are tailored to each individual reading group. Students of the first through third grades check out books from the Reading Room weekly. The selections include fiction and nonfiction, covering a variety of genres. Upon completion of a book, the student takes a computerized comprehension quiz on Reading Counts. For those having reading difficulty some books are available in audio format. We are continually in the process of building our auditory library.