RSS Feed

Category Archives: Literacy

Items (pre-lit and miscellaneous)


Things Inge likes:

  • Ducks (birds) /de eenden en de vogels
  • closing doors, and cabinets.
  • soap bars
  • running water. Pouring.
  • bicycle rides


Saw a glimmer in my children that I believe I should explore…

Quin: for beginning to recognize words better. She can also be regular and persistent – went about with her rag trying to clean everywhere. Then when there was nothing else she went for the windows.

Inge: Try her on some character flash cards perhaps. Observe.

Knox: Does not need to write whole page of characters (about 12 words) to establish recognition of characters. Acts distracted and tired by word 3. But careful with stroke order and wrote most beautiful 牛 (koe)。


Night before Muiderslot Castle visit (2nd attempt). Knox: “We can knock on walls and find the secret passage!”

K points to sky: “Look at those clouds! They’re like millions and billions of sheep!”

This morning, Mike presenting Inge: “Now she (doesn’t cry and scream but) just knocks on the door.”

Inge weaning: Willing to accept when I say no more neh-neh. Pulls my face to kiss her. Went over to pat and comfort Knox who was hurt. Carries stuffed animals into her bed after being rejected from breast and cuddles them.

Eats less messily and no longer eats soap.

At Amstel Park:

  1. Inge stares longingly at kids on merry-go-round. After a long second of staring, points and says 旺旺!(for dog, one of the ride figurines was a bulldog)
  2. Inge sees children feeding goats with grass pulled from ground. Immediately pulls up a fistful of grass (2 pitiful blades sticking out of her tiny fist) and presents to goats. Startles away giggling when the goat gets too close globbering. Goat is uninterested in her meagre offering but keeps on trying. But, I am amazed at her instant comprehension of the situation upon first sight (feeding goats with grass) and action.

Quin tries to read to Inge once in a while.

Knox reads to Inge ditto. He has lost word-for-word instant memory upon hearing story. Sign of leaving the absorbent mind? (for him, Quin never exhibited verbatim memory.)


Knox seems to find blending slightly less arduous. I must proceed with caution here, yet try to capture his developmental windows. His Mandarin word recognition is very good. But he is recognizing many words he finds difficult to write. I believe Mandarin cannot be taught in the same order Montessori English & Italian is taught (writing before word recognition). He is much more ready with responses when I pause during reading. Sometimes he guesses… but I do think he actually looks at the words (because sometimes it is not possible to guess) and reads. There appear to be some inconsistencies in what he can read. Same difficulties with those same 注音letters? Investigate and rectify.

Quin is becoming more stable. Less outbursts. I need to watch myself with this one and how I react emotionally where it is not warranted. Kindness and generous love will not breed entitlement in this child who blossoms and has always a strength and serenity in her when she feel secure and loved.

Inge can now fetch and return many books that she wants read to her. And asks for repeats. It is tiresome but I want her to get as much as her siblings got. And her sweetness makes up for it. I know I will not get anything back from them though we invest. Every moment spent investing in them is something we don’t invest in ourselves. It is a wonder. Examining the mechanisms of our drive to nurture, yet it does not spoil the drive. Just that, when I am in the flow of pleasurable work can be very hard to change track to child. But we have always been individuals who valued our time to plot & ponder. So perhaps 3 children 24/7 is indeed our limit.



蒙特梭利 活動注音盒 可列印

為了孩子用Livable Montessori 的連結做了活動英文 printable small moveable alphabet之後,因為沒有找到可列印的活動注音,所以在這裡做了檔案,有兩個版本。放在網路上給需要的人使用(按version字可到下載的google drive連結)。

Version 1 / Version 2:

兩個版本差異在字型。因為在看Livable Learning 英文的 printable small moveable alphabet 時讓阿諾選了他喜歡的字體,想說若做中文注音,也可以有選擇。

這個活動注音盒主要用來拼字,對於前置語言建構已經有一定基礎,且還無法寫注音,不過會認單注音(可以用砂紙注音板 or 其他)讀拼一起的注音,的孩子可以開始嘗試的活動。可以用一寫小物品,或圖卡,先做兩個注音、且ㄧ的拼音練習。一開始為了能維持孩子的興趣,用玩玩,鼓勵的心態,是不糾正錯誤的喔!如果孩子沒興趣,可能時機不對,可能帶領的方式提不起興趣…多方權衡一下。


  • 砂紙注音製作:四個中文媽媽在聖地牙哥的部落格大方分享的檔案, 這個可列印版本是鏡像的,也貼心的做得很省紙!貼砂紙背面剪比較方便。據說要用3M砂紙240號或者油漆行正常砂紙180號,沙子才夠細緻,適合幼嫩的小手描摩。這個砂紙注音,可做起頭音或尾音的小物件盒(剛開始一次擺出最多介紹/擺出兩、三個!不要擺出太多!孩子往往因為太多選擇而反爾不去碰。)砂紙注音我還沒有做,但已經看定用紙博館的藝術色卡,是硬的且色澤飽和,但不是塑膠的所以可能無法忍受風吹日曬。不過我覺得觸感上質感好。
  • 大的活動注音盒Caroll Wang 有推薦這個磁鐵的。我其實很希望找的原木且沒有磁鐵的(可以自己漆的那種),不過磁鐵的好處是可以在垂直面上操作,而幼兒很多有垂直面操作(繪畫,Michaelangelo躺著畫天花板)的肢體需求。(看完這個webinar: Building Fine Motor Skills 才發現幼兒出現“畫牆壁”這樣的行為時,不能說動機是『調皮』,可能身體上有這樣的需求,可以考慮在牆壁上貼紙滿足)
  • 小活動注音盒(就是我提供的檔案)我是用key way 40 格的(格子可以自己活動調整,超方便!)我個人覺得家庭用的用厚一點的卡紙印就好了,畢竟不是開學校好幾屆的學生要用,沒有必要去裱褙。沒有塑膠的重量,至少卡紙比起裱褙來說也比較不滑。


2017 Jan 21st Knox playing with the home-made small moveable alphabet 阿諾玩英文活動拼音盒:

edit: 感謝文婷老師指點,檔案少了ㄗㄘㄙ,還有自己沒有搞懂一聲,已補上。

I think I know some underachieving verbally gifted children…

Just came across this helpful article to considering motivation for some children in classroom management/design, shared by the Ultimate Montessori Parents Guide:
Signs of verbally gifted children: higher competency in language than peers, easily acquire language, good ear for sound of languages, good at manipulating symbols (letters), can often be heard ‘playing’ with language. – making jokes with language, experimenting with sound (making nonsense sounds), getting rhymes and poetry quickly…etc.
    Aside from this, very young children also have a sensitive period (Montessori) for language that makes it easier for them to absorb languages.
Takeaways from that article:
   1. Verbally gifted children tend to be holistic learners – they want to see the big picture (why should I learn this?) before getting details esp. cosmic education>
2. Because of need for holistic learning and challenge, tend to see rote memorization as pointless. This will present as saying something is ‘hard’ when they mean that something is ‘boring and uncomfortable to learn – tedious’ (not necessarily beyond the child’s capability, as we adults would define the word ‘hard’).
3. For the sake of challenge (to stay interested), these children will often choose difficult tasks over easy ones at the risk of getting a lower grade. Thus presenting with underachievement.
4. Tend to want to be able to be in charge of their own learning (intrinsically motivated)
     Note: being verbally gifted is only one aspect of a child so one verbally gifted child will appear different in temperament and other capabilities than another child. Something I have noticed about gifted children is that their learning often appears asymmetrical – this includes not being very good at certain things, can sometimes present with behavioral issues (due to asymmetry), and does not necessarily follow learning scope & sequence because some things are ahead of others (such as Montessori found that children can often write before they can read. A gifted child may be ready to learn reading before they are able to write, due to under-developed fine motor that is related to their focused interest on non-fine motor related areas.)
     For example, today I noticed a child in the class I am teaching practice at who, for an almost 4 year old, is showing pretty good mastery of the moveable mandarin alphabet (bopomo), compared to peers. I do not think he has enough control for writing yet but he is definitely good at blending. This is one of the children (most of them tend to be boys!) who at various other times can present with behavioral challenges. Could this because he is undershooting in certain areas? Something to find out!
     Another child I know who I realize is verbally gifted (Has high attention span for being read to compared to peers. Can memorize picture book dialogue upon first being read to. Will make puns with words. Easily find and fills in gaps when reading things that rhyme, likes to find new ways of doing things) – keeps complaining and avoiding language work, will dither when working with language. I believe this is because the way these particular language works are presented with limited scope, and the children have been constrained not to use them in a spontaneous way. However, to teachers to follow clear scope & sequence, this child can seem to have ‘not yet mastered’ more basic concepts, and so can be held back because teachers want them to finish one step successfully before moving on to another. While the child is one who seeks novelty and challenge.
     So I think for this child : 1.material for earlier steps needs to be regularly refreshed so child will be interested in working with ‘old’ concepts in new ways. 2. Occasional bridge work (forays) into more advanced work should be used, and allowed, but not to the point that child is introduced too early and frustrated. 3. Sometimes it is okay to experiment so child can see value of earlier work as foundation. 4. Freedom and opportunity for initiative should be allowed. The need for creativity can be satisfied with other materials/activities if purposeful use needs to be maintained for certain materials.

     It is possible for Montessori schools and teachers to accommodate for the needs of gifted children because the inherent philosophical learning environment design allows individualization. However, it is also possible for Montessori teachers to miss these positive aspects and potentialities of a child’s learning. So I really love all these new studies coming to the fore that explore differentiated learning needs!

Literacy update on the illiterates in our household

Quin doesn’t really seem to have an attention span for being read to too much yet. She will go through a few pages. I don’t take this as an indication of her interest in it though – just that she isn’t connecting the pictures/stories yet. It took a while of consistent reading every day before Knox became interested in being read to, and now he can’t stop asking to be read to, even climbing in between another parent and his child to hear the story! We have had to developed a quota of 3 books each time! Despite being pre-illiterate (is there such a word?), Quin has been turning the pages of books. (Knox never did until he started looking at books by himself.) or, when I turn it part way, she will turn it the whole way. Board books are easier. She will crawl over to a touchy-feely board book and touch through it herself. She also enjoys going over to the bookshelf and taking down the books. If it is magazines she will slide with it, rolling the page with palms. I’ve noticed this interest is in the books in particular because I have replaced a shelf of books with stacked cases of cassette tapes, and it lies there unmolested whilst the surrounding books are taken out with loving attention.

DSC09158 DSC09159 DSC09160 DSC09161 DSC09162 DSC09163 DSC09171

Knox is enjoying his cassette tapes. He has pulled a few apart though I’ve reminded him that once they’re gone, they’re gone. I suppose the next one he pulls apart I will show him how to wind it up again and put it in a basket for him to experiment with, though I hope there are no more! He also very much enjoys the BBC dramatization of The Secret Garden that we borrowed from the library. He will ask me to plug the player in so he can play it, and then linger around listening. Sometimes he will go off to play while it is still on and if I turn it off within earshot he will ask to turn it on again. I wonder how this works for him? I personally think it’s great as it’s designed for the ears, as most media now are designed for the sight and you lose the ability to do other things when glued to the screen. I think it is worthwhile for him to isolate that sensation for a while.

Knox has also been keen on hearing some early literacy books such as Abe’s Hat, Mouse Soup, Sticker Swap, and the Bob book Joe’s Toe. I find Sticker Swap and Joe’s Toe particularly puzzling, as there is hardly any plot and, in the case of Joe’s Toe, illustration is stick-figurish. Mike suggests that Knox is beginning to recognize some words, though I do not find that he tracks my finger when I point out the words. Something is going on here…

Also, I noticed Knox keeps cycling back to the books we have at home, he will climb on the sofa to get at them from the top shelf. I wonder if there is a particular attachment children develop towards the first books? It may well be worth looking into, as this could mean something for the choices we make when we first start out reading to them. Also, I’ve noticed that he doesn’t seem as keen on naming books (books with a laundry image of items to be named), though he still enjoys them. He will not pull them out at the same time as story books. I think the naming things serves language need that can be slightly separate from the stories.

Also, we have one set of image flashcards on a ring that I’ve gone through with him once or twice. The past few days he will bring it over himself while I am working, and flip through them, asking “What’s this?”, and then naming them himself if he knows it already. It helps me realize that there is no harm in flashcards, as in most materials, as long it is something that fulfills the child’s inner need.

I have started identifying a few sounds to him. The Montessori way of naming the alphabet is to call them by their phonic sound, not by their name. I don’t think he gets the full notion of specific symbolics yet as he will still point to any writing and say “Knox!” or “Quin!” or “Happy Birthday!”

The other day it was late and we were in the car, Knox asked for a book, we had no books on us so Mike started orally telling him the story of “Caps for Sale”. He was enthralled.

Knox has also started being able to trace the geometric shapes, though not yet really fill them in. I also got a geometric shapes app on my phone for moments outside running errands or something and there really is nothing to do, though for the most part I like having him wallow in the boredom so he can notice things and think of things to do himself. Some of the shapes are difficult, particularly the triangles. The squares seem quickest for him. But I’ve noticed sometimes he is just holding the phone and staring into space, but when I try to take the phone away from him he will protest. I wonder what is going on here. Hmmm…

Update: 2014 June 29th
Knox started ‘reading’ this book to himself!