reading words, Montessori, object game

Try These 2 Intro To Reading Words Games And Spark Excitement

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Montessori introduction to reading words: the object game

The first lesson in the Montessori reading words sequence is the object game. It is an intriguing first introduction to reading for young children. The children love it because it’s playing a game with the beauty of small objects and tiny slips of paper.

I remember teaching it in the classroom; this activity was one of my favorite lessons to give to the children still working with the moveable alphabet, but it was right in the beginning stages of sounding out words.

With this lesson, it’s lovely to see the children observe the writing process and experience reading as connected with communication. At the same time, the game gets easier and easier as you’re down to the last few objects, building confidence and excitement in the child.

In this post, I’ll share the two object reading game lessons I learned from my teacher training. I’ll also share how it went with my five-year-old daughter, Annie, at home!

object game pin1

In This Post

An introduction to reading

The Montessori object game is a fun way to introduce reading words to a young child. First, she notices that the adult writes the words on the labels. Then, she makes the connection that the written word is a form of communication, just like talking. 

She becomes excited to successfully match words on a piece of paper to objects. It’s like an “aha!” moment. As she learns to sound out these new written words, she realizes that she is reading!

reading words, Montessori, object game
name all of the objects

As a Montessori teacher in the classroom, I remember giving the object game lesson right in that sweet spot when a child wasn’t officially reading. However, I noticed the child showed the beginning signs of reading while working with the movable alphabet

With the object game, sometimes the reading doesn’t come immediately to children with those first several objects. The game gets easier at the end because of the “process of elimination.” 

The child picks up momentum, and by the last few objects, she is getting the hang of it and understanding that she is the one reading the words. It sparks the child’s excitement for reading! 

However, continuing work with the moveable alphabet is still essential practice if your child is still at this stage.

reading words, Montessori, object game
match the label, "glue" to the object

The object reading game helps young children to:

  • learn to read written words
  • see that the process of writing and reading is connected with communication
  • enlarge her reading vocabulary 
  • realize that a written word is a group of sounds that have meaning when pronounced in order
  • decode the written word
  • be introduced to reading

According to the US News and World Report article, When Do Kids Learn to Read? by Holly Rosenkrantz, 

“Beginning reading instruction needs to emphasize decoding—letters, sounds, phonemic awareness, sounding out words, spelling, and oral reading fluency—and reading comprehension”

Besides discussing the importance of decoding words when introducing reading, the article also gives helpful ideas and tips for helping your child read at home. The article also mentions games and keeping it fun!

Anytime you incorporate fun and games into learning to read, children will become intrigued and motivated.

How to do the Montessori object game lesson

What you'll need

1. Small slips of paper to print the names of objects and a pencil.

2. A basket, tray, or box to contain the paper, pencil, and objects.             

reading words, Montessori, object game
Object Game: Box 1 (phonetic objects)

3. For object game: box 1, you’ll need 10 to 12 phonetic objects. The objects we used include:


reading words, Montessori, object game
Object Game: Box 2 (objects with double-letter sounds)

4. For object game: box 2, you’ll need 10 to 12 objects containing phonograms, the double letters from the green sandpaper letters. The objects we used include:


Note: At this stage in your child’s reading journey, for object box 2, choose objects or pictures with double letter sounds from the green sandpaper letters. 

There are different variations of spellings for the same sound. 

For example, for the green sandpaper letter sound /ai/ as in pail, you can spell a-e (silent e) as in rake, ay as in clay, or ei as in sleigh.  

These variations in spelling will be addressed later in the Montessori language reading sequence. For now, though, use the green sandpaper letter spellings. 

When I was putting this game together for Annie, I also found a bird object and included it in the basket. I later realized that the /ir/ in “bird” is an alternate spelling for the green sandpaper letter for /er/. When I realized this, I took the bird away and told Annie, “Oops, I made a mistake; this bird doesn’t belong in this game.” She laughed and was okay with me having to take the bird away.  

If you do not have objects at home and prefer to use pictures, I created printables for object boxes 1 and 2 with photo cards and matching labels. 

object box 1 and 2 printable pin

* Sign up for the Resources Library at the bottom of this post if you’d like to download the object games box 1 and box 2 printables I made. If you’re a subscriber, check my newest email for the updated password.

Step-by-step: object game lesson

Presentation 1: Object Box 1

Ask your child to place the objects on the table in mixed order. Have your child identify each object. 

reading words, Montessori, object game
name the objects

Ask your child to see if she can give you the object that you want. Say, “I wonder if you can find the object I’m thinking of.” 

Your child selects one object.

Say to your child, “that’s not the one I’m thinking of. I’ll give you a clue.” 

Note: You only have to say “find what I’m thinking of” the first time (one time).

Write the name of the object you’re thinking of on a slip of paper.

reading words, Montessori, object game
read the word and place the label next to the object

Your child reads the label you wrote. Ask her to place the label next to the correct object. 

reading words, Montessori, object game
continue until all of the objects are labeled

Continue until all the objects are labeled or if your child wishes to stop. 

Tip: after your child collects the labels at the end, you can put them in the basket for your child to match the labels to the objects independently at a future time.

Presentation 2: Object Box 2

If your child can easily read the words in object box 1, you can move on to object box 2. The objects in this box will contain objects with the double symbols from the green sandpaper letters. 

If your child needs more practice, it’s a good idea to revisit some green sandpaper letters and practice writing words with these double-letter sounds with the moveable alphabet first.

reading words, Montessori, object game
read the word, horn, and label the object

You can do the same steps as in the object box 1 above. This time, you will draw a line under the double letters (phonograms) in the words. 

For example: tree, boat, ship, bench, pail

reading words, Montessori, object game
read the word, card, and label the object

Tip: After you write the word, when underlining the double letter sound, go over the sound it makes with your child. I found this to be a big help with refreshing your child’s memory of the green sandpaper letter sounds. This worked really well with Annie! 

More phonetic box ideas

After your child has seen many examples of you modeling writing the words on a slip of paper, you can prepare word cards ahead of time with objects for your child to take out and match independently. 

You can also use pictures instead of objects. The object box 1 and 2 printables I made are great for this. If you’d like to download them, sign up for the resources library at the bottom of this post. 

You could also make little word booklets or books after she completes the activity. You can staple the pages together. Young children love to make little books and booklets! 

reading words, Montessori, object game
Putting the labels in a little envelope

I also noticed that young children love to collect and put all kinds of little papers in envelopes. They like to draw a picture on a small piece of paper or cut little shapes with scissors and put them in an envelope.

So, another idea is that your child can
put the words you wrote in a little envelope. She can take that envelope out and practice reading the words independently or write them with the moveable alphabet.

Annie loved putting the word labels in an envelope! You can make little envelopes by cutting out pieces of old folders and stapling or taping the edges together. You could also collect different types of old envelopes you don’t need anymore in the house, like old stationary kits.

Note: It’s important to remember that a big part of this game is for the child to observe you, the adult, writing the words on the slips of paper. This way, they observe the written word and how it relates to communication. Once you and your child have tried that, you can move forward with your child matching pre-written labels you’ve prepared ahead of time to the objects or pictures. 

Concluding Thoughts about reading words

Annie loved working with the object reading game primarily because of handling the small objects and gathering the tiny slips of paper at the end. 

While working with object box 1 with Annie, I noticed that it was easy to sound out the words initially, but it got easier as she finished. The last few objects were very easy.

We revisited the work several weeks later with object box 2, and it was a bit more challenging at first, but she quickly got the hang of it. Going over the underlined double-letter sound first helped her sound out the whole word.

I have found that the object reading game is a fantastic introduction to decoding words. Young children are drawn to the little objects and little pieces of paper. Making it fun and into a game helps children to experience the joy of reading.

Have you introduced any reading games to your child? Leave a comment below! 

object game pin2

More Montessori Resources

Montessori introduction to reading words: the object game

object box 1 and 2 printable pin

* Sign up for the Resources Library below if you’d like to download the object games box 1 and box 2 printables I made. You can also download the lesson plan. If you’re a subscriber, check my newest email for the updated password.

20 thoughts on “Try These 2 Intro To Reading Words Games And Spark Excitement”

  1. This sounds like fun! I would love to do this with my daughter as we are just starting to learn how to read.

    We trying to keep our lessons exciting and this is just perfect.
    Thank you for sharing these tips.

  2. Loved your take on the magic of reading words. Your passion for books is so relatable, felt like chatting with a friend. Keep those bookish vibes coming!

  3. Using this reading game is such a fun way to learn new things. I really love this kind of idea.

  4. It is a great idea! My oldest son is in kindergarten and he is struggling with reading and writing. I`ll try this game with him this weekend. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I’m 100% going to do this with my kindergartener today! My husband and i were just talking about how we want to help him learn to read more! He’s getting there but needs help

  6. Your post on the Montessori introduction to reading words and the object game is awesome! It makes learning fun and engaging. The way you explained the games sparked excitement, and it’s clear that you understand how to make reading enjoyable for kids. Your positive and personalized approach really shines through. Great job!

  7. This is a great and educational way to spend some time with reading words. It’s always awesome to make learning fun.

  8. My kids are grown up now, but I remember the challenge of finding games that were learning- oriented but that also held their attention. This looks like a good example of that type of game.

  9. This seems like such a fun way to learn how to read! I’m sure kids would be very engaged in a learning activity such as this one! 🙂

  10. Love this! It’s definitely something my 3 year old will be excited about! And I totally appreciate the printable too!

  11. Such a clever way to learn with objects and words. Anything to keep the child’s attention and get them interested in learning.

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