Show & Tell: Montessori Letter Sounds HD

Montessori Letter Sounds HD

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading, Reading, Writing

Concept: Letter & Sound Recognition, Phonics, Letter Writing

Target Age: 3,4,5,6

Device: iPad

Price (as of publishing): $2.99* on sale!

View Montessori Letter Sounds HD on the App Store

The opportunities for children to engage in pre-reading exercises in this new world filled with apps are incredible. A favorite of ours is Montessori Letter Sounds. The activities are based around the Montessori method and strongly encourage playing with sounds “phonemes” to make meaningful connections about letters, reading and language.

Here are 4 reasons why this app is exceptional:

1. Set up to let kids only access activities they are ready for – The app keeps track of each player’s progress with shooters and marbles. Levels are locked and the app will not let a player advance without displaying mastery.

2. Method of feedback is very encouraging for children – Direct feedback in the app comes from self-correction.This approach of self-correction is a key element in the Montessori method of teaching and helps children gain confidence and autonomy.

3. Game play is sophisticated and thoughtful – Research shows that children can successfully learn to read before they know letter names. With that in mind, the app slowly introduces repeated letter sounds throughout 4 levels that start with children playing with sounds and increases in sophistication to building words.

4. Parents raved about the app –

  • They said their kids loved recording themselves saying new words, making name tags, and tracing and smoothing out letters in the sand. (note: letter formation may not be the same as what your child is learning in school)
  • The app did wonders to motivate their reluctant hand-writers. It successfully allowed the children to practice handwriting without arm twisting.

Show What You Know

Have you been to a parent teacher conference and heard language like phonics, phonological awareness, segmenting, word families or blending? These technical terms are used to describe parts of reading instruction. The issue is that you would only know what they mean if you went to school to be a reading teacher or read some technical books on how kids learn to read.

Activity 1 (for parents): Phonemic what? Brush up on your “technical” learning terms

(This week’s activity comes from the creators of Reading Kingdom, the online reading program that’s disguised as a game.)

Dr. Blank, one of the creators of Reading Kingdom, has taken the time to give parents a quick answer to their questions about this technical language. She explains “phonological awareness” as:

“… a cluster of skills that are considered to be essential precursor skills for phonics (i.e. sounding out.) They are language related to, but are not, by themselves, meaningful language. For the most part, they are skills that allow a person to talk about language, think about language or play with language.”

Read more about phonological awareness and find ways to help your child be a stronger reader at the Reading Kingdom blog.

Activity 2: Don’t play with your food – play with sounds

Young children, who are not yet reading, benefit from sound-play. This kind of play should feel silly. It is not about your child manipulating sounds perfectly but that they are listening to you and playing with sounds in a safe, free environment.

Ways to play with sounds – try it while cooking dinner tonight!

Rhyming: saying a word and making other real and pretend words that have the same ending.

Example: I like to eat rice – dice, mice, nice

Blending beginning sounds: put a break in between the first sound in a word and the ending and having your child tell you the word. This can be fun if your child and you take turns playing with blending in a sentence.


Parent: I am making  /p/… asta for dinner. What are we going to have?
Child: Pasta!

Alliteration: a string of words that all start with the same letter.

Example: The fabulous fox has furry feet.


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