The Pink Series and Cotton Balls

Ender is working on the pink series right now. Last fall when he first brought this up he already knew all the sounds for the letters so we worked on listening for beginning and ending sounds, then talked about sounding out words. He worked at that for a few weeks then lost interest, choosing to go back to spelling with the moveable alphabet using pictures and words in the pink series.

Now that he has worked through the spelling obsession and wants to actually read, we went back to using the pink cards in conjunction with Explode The Code 1. I printed and laminated the cards found here. I’ll state right here that this is not a 100% Montessori way to teach reading- I also particularly like the way Elizabeth Foss talks about teaching reading in her book Real Learning, which is very Charlotte Mason.

Ender has a word box that holds 10 of the pink series cards and a few extra words- Mama, Daddy, Ezra, Nana, Pop, Grandma, and Papa. Those are the important people in his life, and those are the words he asks to spell again and again. Ender brings the word box to me when he wants to work on reading and he tells me how many words he’d like to read that day. Usually he’ll choose 3-5, occasionally more. He has 10 words in his word box so far, and he cycles through them at his own pace. When I’ve observed that he’s ready for more words I’ve added two to his box. For the words he’s not as familiar with he’s able to sound out the short vowel words in his head and then say the word. For familiar words he often has to look at them for just a second or two before telling me what it is. This week I’m adding 1 rhyming word for each of the 10 words that are in his box and we’ll stay on those until he’s ready for more.

Now for the cotton balls:

This is Montessori on the cheap. The wood bowl came from Target on clearance for $1 (I bought 2 for Montessori work), the board is from the game Mancala. I played that game all the time as a kid, so when I found one on sale for $3 at Target back in December I grabbed it! Ezra isn’t old enough to use the marbles that come with the Mancala game, but cotton balls have been a fun replacement. He’s very into texture right now so the cotton balls keep his fingers interested. For now I’ve presented this to him as a one-to-one correspondence work. In a week or two I’ll re-pesent it with a spoon, and then later with tongs. Ezra hasn’t used tongs yet because I’m not sure he has the patience for it  quite yet. However, he has surprised me with his persistence on recent work so he may be ready in another few weeks.

Another use for the cotton balls? Blow them across the table! We’ve been talking a lot about wind lately with all the spring storms we’re having here. We had a great time blowing cotton balls across the table. It took Ezra awhile to figure out how hard he had to blow to get the cotton ball to move, and Ender figured out quickly that he could control the direction of the cotton ball by blowing from different angles and with different amounts of air. I never would have thought we could spend 30 minutes blowing on cotton balls!

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