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Montessori-aligned Books

By Jeff Waxman

Children from 0-6 are in their sensitive period for language. This means that being in an environment full of conversation, discussion, vocabulary and experiences of the written word are all-important and crucial at this phase of their development.

Your children’s teachers speak in full sentences in the same way we would speak to each other. The curriculum intentionally includes the introduction of big, “juicy” vocabulary including terms like: hypotenuse, triangle-based pyramid, archipelago and Paleozoic Era. And, of course, we give characteristics and definitions to go along with these words, as well as a context so that the concepts can be fully understood.

We frequently read aloud to children, and provide lots of literature not just in the reading corner/classroom library, but on the shelves in different curricula areas as well. In Botany we have books about plants, and besides books, nomenclature cards full of interesting facts. The written word is everywhere.

At home, we encourage the same focus on printed material. Below you will find some ideas for books that you can read aloud to your children over the holiday break. These books are also well-aligned with Montessori as they teach real concepts (not fantasy), employ the use of robust vocabulary, have high quality art and visual appeal. Most also include real-life, every-day ideas which make them highly engaging for children.

Ages 0-1
TITLE: Visual Quiet Book Shapes and Color

Wonderful for babies; they can explore their senses: auditory, tactile, and vision… can be introduced between 0-3 months. Black and white is perfect or newborns!

TITLE: Black & White

Written and illustrated by Tana Hoban. contrasting images are perfect – also ideal to prop up during tummy time, which you’ll be doing a lot around 3-6 months.

TITLE: All About Me

Full of real-life photography of babies. Babies are naturally wired to look for faces, so this book is especially captivating. Introduce around 5-6 months of age. You can start using lots of language about body parts while making it interactive (“THIS is your nose!”). There are also flaps to lift, which is great since most babies love peek-a-boo.

TITLE: Charmer Play Kit Book Bundle

From Lovevery, includes two books – one wooden book w/animal
images and a second board book with photography. Wooden books like these won’t warp or break down in baby’s mouth, these seriously capture baby’s attention!

Ages 1-2

These are all about routines, exploring and curiosity, and preparing for real-life situations: going to the doctor for the first time, can be scary for a child. Walking through that experience with a book can be a game-changing!

TITLE: Hands Can

The photography in Hands Can alongside the rhyming text makes this a toddler favourite. Explore all the things your hands can do!

TITLE: The Babies and Doggies Book

Babies and dogs do a lot of the same things – squirm, sniff, sit, splash,
cuddle… explore these similarities. Great color photography of different dog breeds and a diverse cast of babies.

TITLE: Pancakes! An Interactive Recipe Book

Toddlers love working in the kitchen using their platform/kitchen helper. Follow simple recipes (cracking eggs, etc.)…allows your child to take part in daily tasks. The book has fun features like pull-tabs, wheels, and a punch-out piece so it’s interactive.

TITLE: The Pioneer Play Kit Book Bundle

Four books exploring concepts of opposites, big and little, few and many… very Montessori!

TITLE: Ready to Go Poop, Ready to Go Pee

Yep, exactly what you would think…for ages 1 and up, and there are pictures of poop, so be prepared!

TITLE: Montessori: Number Work/Letter Work/Shape Work

Your child will love these Montessori books with sandpaper tracing. This one is all about tracing numbers, but there are others as well; these are fantastic to help with prewriting practice!

Ages 2-3

TITLE: Going to the Dentist

Lots of parents and toddlers dread going to the dentist. Introduce the
experience early with the help of this book, which includes real-life photography and walks a child through the entire process beforehand.

TITLE: May We Have Enough to Share

By Richard Van Camp, this book is all about nature and gratitude. A sweet message and the perfect way to start or end the day.

TITLE: Clean-Up Time

A child’s play or work space needs to be clean and functional. Too many
toys and clutter can be overwhelming for kids and prevents optimal learning. Help your toddler learn to take part in clean-up time by reinforcing the concept during reading time.

Ages 3-5

TITLE: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Pattern books are excellent for predicting, and this one focuses on counting, name of foods, and of course, the the metamorphosis of the butterfly.

TITLE: Love You Forever

A beautiful expression of the love a parent has for their child, forever.

TITLE: Owl Babies

Three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, and they can’t help but wonder where she is A tender tale to remind the youngest of children that Mommy always comes back.

TITLE: The Giving Tree

Beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein, a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving.

TITLE: Blueberries for Sal

Beautifully illustrated, addictively written and tells the charming story of mother and son, and a bear and her cub, as they prepare for winter.

TITLE: When Sophie Gets Angry…Really Really Angry…

A Caldecott award winning book that validates children’s emotions.

Five Tips for Reading with your Children

There is nothing like the special time when a parent snuggles in with their child one on one with a good book. From just a few months old, children can already look at books, listen to your voice, and point to pictures as they associate the names of objects. Here are a variety of activities you can try with your children to build their love of reading:

  1. Read aloud, every day. Try to read to your child once a day at a time you choose and be consistent. Bedtime is often popular as reading and listening can be soothing and calming before sleep. Your young child may want to hear the same stories read again and again. Don’t be discouraged if you skip a day or don’t always keep to your schedule. Just read to your child as often as you possibly
  2. Repeat, repeat repeat. You may go through a period when your child prefers one book and wants it read night after night. It is not unusual for children to favour a particular story. Keep in mind that a favourite story may speak to your child’s interests or emotional needs. Be patient. Continue to expose your children to a wealth of books and eventually they will be ready for more stories.
  3. Talk about the Stories you read. Sometimes it’s nice to discuss the story together, sometimes a good story stands on its own. If you don’t talk about a story right away, that’s ok. Your child may come up with questions at a later time. Either way, reading aloud to your child, and taking time to reflect on what you read are ways to build your child’s love and interest in books, and something you can share and discuss together. Try to use open-ended questions instead of yes or no questions such as “why do you think he did that?” or “what do you think she will do next?”.
  4. Let Your Child Tell You the Story. A child may be taken aback when you ask them to tell you the story. Perhaps they have heard a book so many times it will feel easy and they will be very willing. Perhaps they will resist at first. Suggest that they look at the pictures and tell you a story, even if it’s the first time they have seen a book. This is a “pre-reading” activity often known as a “picture walk” and works very well for children who are 3-4 or 5 years of age who are not yet reading or just coming into reading. It can be very satisfying for a child who is not yet reading, to be able to “read” to you by using the pictures in a picture book as a map to the story, even if their version is nothing like the one in the book. It helps them orient to beginning, middle, end. If using a familiar book, use it as a way to help them recall the story from beginning to end, offering reminders if needed.
  5. Plan Family Silent-Reading Time. As children become more comfortable with printed material, holding books, orienting to top-bottom/front-back of the book, turning pages independently, it can be fun to set a timer for 20-30 minutes and everyone cozy up with a favorite book. Lay on your belly on the floor next to your child with your book, and make sure they have some of their own. When children see their parents taking time to read, and doing it for enjoyment (not for work, on a computer), especially with a real book, not a tablet, this encourages children to find their own love for reading, and to make the time to read when the rest of the family is also enjoying books.

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