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The elementary reading program begins with the California Phonetic Reading Program materials and level-appropriate phonetic readers. Early elementary students progress through the phonetic boxes, readers and basic phonetic word lists at their own pace. They also expand their recognition of sight words using Mystery Word boxes and several early reading book, which combine phonetic and sight word skills. Once they are ready, they move into a series of reading comprehension books in which they read passages on a variety of subjects and do vocabulary building and comprehension/ retention activities related to the texts. Each child progresses through this series at his/her own rate of speed according to individual needs.
In addition, students engage in a variety of supplementary activities to reinforce reading skills. They are taught to choose appropriate sources for research purposes and how to locate information in these sources. They are instructed in dictionary and encyclopedia skills and in the use of a thesaurus. Students are exposed to genres of literature through oral reading by teachers and independent reading for book reports. Students from 9 to 12 do guided reading and follow-up assignments from " Scholastic News" and the "Storyworks" magazine. Reading for independent research using materials such as nomenclatures, biome box cards and the Stages in the Progress of Civilization cards is a part of everyday life in the Montessori classroom.
It is impossible to cover all the many opportunities for building reading skills which are provided in our elementary program, in this brief overview. Each classroom has a library which provides resources in all subject areas and many genres of literature. Our students' standardized test scores in reading are generally quite strong due to the emphasis we place on giving each student a solid background and individual reinforcement as needed.