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“These words reveal the child’s inner needs; ‘Help me to do it myself’.” – Maria Montessori

To help children grasp the logic hidden in the unruly English language system, Sound Shapes Precision Phonics,™  a reading program, adapts the elegant methodology Montessori developed for teaching mathematics to her bambini. Pioneered and tested for over 30 years in an American Montessori classroom¹, Sound Shapes Precision Phonics™ was designed to engage the greatest potential of every student, including those with learning challenges, while it develops the child’s higher order cognitive skills to meet those challenges. Ongoing research, evaluations, and case studies point to the program’s unprecedented success in mitigating the symptoms of reading disorders caused by dyslexia.

Since we begin teaching children at Nightingale Montessori as early as age three or four – well before dyslexia is normally diagnosed — we can identify at risk students even before they start to read. The earliest signs of dyslexic reading disorders may surface when a child is invited to match an identifiable sound with its corresponding sandpaper shape. A diagnosis becomes more conclusive when asked to match the eight sounds to the eight shapes on First Blanket™. It is important to note that this approach has had record-breaking success not only with children at risk for dyslexia but also with non-impaired children participating in the program. If a child enters the curriculum by age four, he or she typically reaches second grade reading level by the end of kindergarten with only 20-minute lessons every day. Even though our students are not preselected for high-test performance, the majority gain a sustained two to four year advantage throughout their school careers².

To help children grasp the logic hidden in the unruly English language system, Sound Shapes Precision Phonics,™  a reading program, adapts the elegant methodology Montessori developed for teaching mathematics to her bambini. Pioneered and tested for over 30 years in an American Montessori classroom¹, Sound Shapes Precision Phonics™ was designed to engage the greatest potential of every student, including those with learning challenges, while it develops the child’s higher order cognitive skills to meet those challenges. Ongoing research, evaluations, and case studies point to the program’s unprecedented success in mitigating the symptoms of reading disorders caused by dyslexia.

Since we begin teaching children at Nightingale Montessori as early as age three or four – well before dyslexia is normally diagnosed — we can identify at risk students even before they start to read. The earliest signs of dyslexic reading disorders may surface when a child is invited to match an identifiable sound with its corresponding sandpaper shape. A diagnosis becomes more conclusive when asked to match the eight sounds to the eight shapes on First Blanket™. It is important to note that this approach has had record-breaking success not only with children at risk for dyslexia but also with non-impaired children participating in the program. If a child enters the curriculum by age four, he or she typically reaches second grade reading level by the end of kindergarten with only 20-minute lessons every day. Even though our students are not preselected for high-test performance, the majority gain a sustained two to four year advantage throughout their school careers².

¹Copyrighted in 2000, the Nightingale Montessori Pre-primary Reading Program© is the prototype of the Sound Shapes Precision Phonics™ program. Its findings were presented by Nancy Schwab, Director of Nightingale Montessori, at the Ohio Catholic Education Association Annual Convention, October 1999 in a paper entitled “Dyslexia No More: A Unique and Proven Approach to Early Reading at Nightingale Montessori.”

²On the 2005 California Achievement Tests (CAT), our 4th graders performed at the 5.6 grade equivalent; our 5th graders at the 7.1 grade equivalent; our 6th graders at the 11.0 grade equivalent, the 7th graders at the 12.9 grade equivalent; our 8th graders at the 11.0 grade equivalent. (This class includes students with some learning difficulties.)

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