Some words can’t be read as previously learned in the lessons before. In Montessori, we call these words – Puzzle words.
At stage 6, we introduce high-frequency words that they usually encounter in books. We go over some new puzzle words again later at stage 11, covering words with irregular rules. For now, we’ll learn the basics of learning puzzle words.
What are Puzzle Words?
Puzzle words are words in the English language that do not obey any rule. They are non-phonetic and constructed irregularly so they puzzle our minds. They can’t be sounded out so they are simply memorized, hence they’re also called sight words.
The adult can include in the list some common words that the child is most likely to encounter in his conversations and/or are already in his vocabulary, such as: I, the, put, was, they, one, two, are, once, what, father, mother, aunt, cough, four, you, etc.
Tips in Learning to Read Sight Words in Montessori
1. Start with the basics – Phonemic Awareness & Phonics
Before you can learn sight words, you need to have a solid foundation in phonics. Make sure you understand the sounds of each letter and how they combine to form words.
2. Learn with Puzzle Word Cards
These cards help children recognize the shape of each word and the letters that make up the word.
3. Make it Fun
Learning should be fun, so find ways to make sight word or puzzle word practice enjoyable. Play games using the three-period lesson, use objects, or have a scavenger hunt for words around the house.
4. Practice, practice, practice
Learning sight words takes time and practice. Spend a few minutes each day working on new words and reviewing old ones.
How to Introduce the Puzzle Words?
Set of puzzle words grouped in smaller packets of 3-5 words.
- Start with one packet first, read each one.
- Invite the child to read aloud or repeat each word after you.
- Separate the words that are unknown and use each word that is known in a sentence.
- Do a three-period lesson for all the unknown words.
- Use each word in a sentence during the first period.
Here is another great way of presenting the puzzle words by the Montessori Album.