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Friday, July 2, 2010

Domino Reading Practice

One of the theories they pushed when I worked in traditional schools is "automaticity" in reading. Automaticity is when the child has practiced reading the word to a level that the word no longer has to be decoded (the child is able to read a common grade level word  in approximately 1 second).

Reading Success Lab goes on to state that "readers who do not develop automatic letter and word recognition skills are certain to experience reading comprehension difficulties. A child can read words with 100% accuracy, but if those words are not read rapidly enough to get a complete thought in working memory within the 10 second constraint, comprehension will be difficult."

This is one of those "theories" from the traditional school system that actually seems to hold true. If a child has to use all their brain power to decode common grade level words in their reading, they will have a more difficult time comprehending what they have read.

We never discussed the term "automaticity" in my Montessori training or at the Montessori school in which I worked, however it is a natural occurance that happens using the montessori approach. Think about how many times a student practices the same skill, but in a variety of ways. This is what I believe makes Montessori-type education a better fit for my family. My children are able to gain this automaticity at their own developmental stage and in a more engaging way - not by circling a bunch of worksheets and skill and drill for hours a day.
I am not suggesting that anyone worry or panic if their child does not reach "automaticity" at a 'certain age.' All children develop at a different rate. However, it is a good thing to offer as many practices as possible in a variety of different ways so a child is able to achieve this skill naturally

It is sad to say that when I worked in the public schools many years back, if a child did not develop at the rate the administration/and or teacher thought he/she should, many times the child was made to feel inadequate, missed their playtime to get extra tutoring, or the parents were made to feel like there was something wrong with the child (this is why I only stayed 2 years :)! )

Our "pink-level" domino set is not a traditional montessori material, but it fits in to our montessori approach to reading very well. It gives Little Angel extra reading practice and she loves to see how many different designs she can make with the dominos while matching the picture to the correct word. It is also self-correcting - if she doesn't match up the correct word with the correct picture, she will have a left-over piece when she is done.  I have downloadable copies of the pink level and green-level domino sets available at

I also have a "blue-level" domino set in my free download section.

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