Waseca Reading Program
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Over the years, the Waseca Reading Program has become a standard in many Montessori classrooms. It is cleanly structured to provide a systematic and sequential presentation of the phonetic elements used in the English language.
The program uses a four-step approach in which the children spell the word depicted on the card with a moveable alphabet, a process that involves encoding or using the phonetic principle introduced to make a word. In the next step, the child lays out all of the cards and matches the label cards, thereby decoding the phonetic information. Additional practice in decoding involves writing the words and reading words that follow the same phonetic principle in a booklet.
The sequence is consistent with that of the Orton-Gillingham Method in its application for children with dyslexia.
The cards use photo images to illustrate each word and large print that highlights the phonetic element used in the word. The frame around the picture and the highlighting are color-coded for nine different boxes. The boxes cover the following categories:
- Red- basic three-letter phonetic words isolating each short vowel sound
- Orange- blends grouped with common letters to make beginning blends, ending blends, then both.
- Yellow- consonant digraphs like sh, ch, th, tch
- Green- endings with –ng and –nk
- Aqua- silent e rule as applied to each vowel
- Blue- different phonograms used to make each long vowel sounds
- Purple- various dipthongs such as r-controlled, oy, ow, aw
- Pink- silent letters
- Gold- less common rules such as soft consonants
- Photographic illustrations for each word in the series
- Labels for each word in the series
- Tyvek Phonogram booklets of the phonetic elements in each drawer
- Masters for writing practice for each card set in cursive or print
- Teacher's guide and student tracking sheet