Mary Rose Cook's notebook

The public parts of my notebook.

My homepage.

Maria Montessori felt that children learn to write before they learn to read

Here’s what she wrote in The Secret of Childhood:

One day two or three mothers came to me and asked me to teach their children how to read and write…All that I taught these four- or five-year-old children were some letters of the alphabet which I had the teacher cut out of cardboard…They would march up and down in procession holding up the letters of the alphabet like banners and uttering shouts of joy…“To make Sofia, you have to have an ’S’, an ‘O’, an 'F’, an 'I’ and an 'A’.”…In the beginning, a written language is distilled from its spoken counterpart…The child who first make the discovery was so astonished that he shouted out loud: “I’ve written, I’ve written!” The children excitedly ran up to look at the words which he had traced on the floor with a piece of chalk…The children were rarely interested in reading what another had written. Many of the children would turn around and look at me in amazement when I read out loud the words they had written, as if to ask, “How do you know it?” It was only after some six months that they began to understand what it is to read, and they did this only by associating reading with writing. They watched my hand as I traced letters on a piece of white paper and came to realise that I was communicating my thoughts.