word lists, Montessori, reading

Montessori Word Lists And Fun Rhyming For Beginning Readers

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Montessori Long Word Lists

“and then something went BUMP!
how that bump made us jump!
we looked!
then we saw him step in on the mat!
we looked!
and we saw him!
the cat in the hat!”

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

It’s always exciting to add some rhyming to our reading activity!

In my previous blog post, we learned about action cards for reading. The next lesson in our reading words sequence is the Montessori word list cards, sometimes called the long word lists

The first thing I thought of while exploring the word list cards lesson again is that many words rhyme on the cards. So why not include a rhyming book to accompany the list of rhyming words? 

The word list cards contain words in the same word family, like cat, hat, mat, and sat, just like the words in the rhyming book The Cat in the Hat

Your child practices decoding the words in the list, noticing that the words rhyme, almost having a musical quality. It gets easier to read the words as your child notices a pattern. 

In this post, I’ll share the word list cards lesson I learned from my Montessori training, as well as a fun word booklet variation. I’ll also share how it went with my five-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Annie, at home! 

In This Post

word lists, Montessori, reading

Decoding words in the same rhyming family

According to the ReadingPartners.org article, Read Across America and the benefits of rhyming for young readers,

"Through exposure to rhyme in books kids learn to segment words into phonemes, improving their decoding and comprehension abilities."

The article goes on to say that hearing the rhyming words in a story can help children naturally learn more about word families. Rhyming helps children keep a “mental library” of sounds. 

With the Montessori word list cards, beginning readers will recognize that the words rhyme as they go down the list of words. Decoding the words as they go will become easier because of the rhyming, sound patterns, and cadence. 

The word list cards, especially the ones that rhyme, are an excellent example of how we can provide different ways for children to practice decoding and reading words while bringing an element of fun!

Note: not all word list cards rhyme, such as those in set 2 (consonant blends and two-syllable words). 

The word list cards activity can help beginning readers:

  • learn to read written words
  • enlarge reading vocabulary
  • decode the written word
word lists, Montessori, reading
reading The Cat in the Hat

How to do the Montessori long word lists lesson

You'll need

Rhyming books like Dr. Seuss are not part of the Montessori word lists lesson. 

But, I have found that reading a rhyming book or poetry before introducing the word lists helps make it fun while keeping your child interested in this activity!

word lists, Montessori, reading
Set 1 word list cards

Set 1 Cards: includes words that are three-letter short vowel word families. Print set 1 words on white, cream, or beige. 

Set 1 cards are an example of rhyming words. You can also create several cards with different word families, such as:

an, ap, eg, en, it, ip, on, op, un

You can also create cards with fewer words, like 4 or 6, rather than 8. 

word lists, Montessori, reading
Set 1 word list cards close-up

Set 1 example:

cat, hat, mat, sat, rat, bat, fat, pat 
bet, jet, set, pet, wet, yet, get, net

word lists, Montessori, reading
Set 2 word list cards (most of these words do not rhyme)

Set 2 Cards: includes short vowels, three-letter consonant blends, and two-syllable words. Print set 2 words on white, cream, or beige. 

Note: Most of these words do not rhyme. However, you could create cards with blends and two rhyme syllables with the same blends. You can be as creative as you wish. 

For example:

bland, blend, blunt, black, blink, blimp, blank, blob
bump, jump, lump, clump, camp, stomp, stamp, blimp 


word lists, Montessori, reading
Set 2 word list cards close up

Set 2 example:

mend, band, bent, blunt, send, bland, tent, pond
lemon, pumpkin, melon, napkin, insect, plastic, fabric, velvet 

word lists, Montessori, reading
Set 3 word list cards

Set 3 Cards: includes words with phonograms from the green sandpaper lettersPrint set 3 words and mount them on green card stock. The phonograms are underlined or written in red. Also, you can group the set of 3 cards in different ways. 

word lists, Montessori, reading
Set 3 word list cards close up

Set 3 example:

You can create cards that contain words, each having the same phonogram:

meet, seep, free, deed, heed, meek, tree, feet
paint, train, rain, main, drain, claim, explain, grain

Optional idea: Cards that contain words with a mix of different phonograms on each:

rush, book, squid, park, toast, toy, fern, chip

You can create a word list card for all of the green sandpaper letters if you’d like. You could mix up the words on the cards, as well. Again, you can be as creative as you’d like! 

Tip: You may like to review my blog post about the moveable alphabet and word families to check out more ideas for word lists. 

Variation: you can also create word booklets as a variation of this reading words activity. I’ll talk more about the booklets later in this post.

word lists, Montessori, reading
word list cards and word booklets

I created a printable for the word list cards and the word booklets, as shown in the pictures above, to get you started! 

word lists, Montessori, reading

* If you would like to download the long word list cards and booklets that I made, as well as the lesson plan PDF, sign up for the resources library below. If you’re already a subscriber, be sure to get the most recent password from my latest email. 

Step-by-step: long word lists

Invite your child who has had practice decoding words at the table or a rug. Sit on her dominant side. 

word lists, Montessori, reading
basket with word list cards

Show your child the lists of words and tell her that these lists are for practice in reading.

word lists, Montessori, reading
reading the word list card with the /at/ family

Ask your child to read the words from the list out loud

word lists, Montessori, reading
set 2 word list card

Ask your child if she would like to try another card.

word lists, Montessori, reading
set 3 word list card

Continue as long as there is interest. 

Fun option: First, read a rhyming book that goes with the word list, for example, The Cat in the Hat.

word lists, Montessori, reading
reading The Cat in the Hat with the /at/ family word list card

Note:  While working with the word lists, be sure to go at your child’s pace. Every kid is different, and you may need to stick with set 1 cards for a while. Depending on your child’s needs, you may also want to create more cards in different word families as your child progresses. 

Tip: While doing set 3 with phonograms, you may want to revisit the green sandpaper letters first. I found this helpful as you go through the words with double letters. 

More word list ideas

word lists, Montessori, reading

A fun variation of the word lists is to make word booklets to practice reading the words in the lists. As a teacher, I did this in the Montessori classroom, and I noticed that many children preferred reading the word lists this way.

Young children love little booklets they can make and hold and turn the little pages in their hands. 

The booklets are also an excellent introduction to reading phonetic books. They are small and easy enough for the kids to read and turn the pages confidently.

There are different ways you can make the word lists booklets: 

  • Print out a set of words and cut them out into small strips of paper.
  • If you have a child who loves to write, print out small strips of paper for your child to write the words  independently. You can give her a list of words to copy or dictate the words. 
  • Make long-lasting sets of cards: print out sets of words on card stock, and you can also laminate the cards if you’d like.
word lists, Montessori, reading
Make booklets with a hole punch and pipe cleaners

After you make the word cards, you can bind them together to make little booklets for each set of words. 

Making a booklet cover is so much fun, but this is optional. 

For words in set 1 and set 2, make the booklet covers white, cream, or beige. For set 3, make the covers in green. 

There are different ways to bind the booklets together:

  • Use a stapler for booklets. Using a stapler is easier for booklets that are not laminated.
  • Hole punch the paper and use metal brad clasps, ribbon, string, or pipe cleaners.
  • If you’re hole-punching laminated cards, use key rings or thick string to bind the cards together.
word lists, Montessori, reading
set 1 word booklet

I created booklets by printing out the words on paper, cutting covers out of thicker card stock, punching a hole in all the covers and pages, and using a pipe cleaner to create a ring for the binding. 

Tip: Use thick paper or card stock for the word cards, or you can mount them on card stock after you print them. I have found that regular copy paper can be challenging when turning the booklet’s pages, especially if you have a card stock cover. It works, but it is something to keep in mind!

word lists, Montessori, reading
set 2 word booklet

Concluding Thoughts about long word lists

The original Montessori word list card lesson doesn’t include reading a rhyming book or story together with the cards. However, I have found it to be a helpful tool for the lesson.  

When I first introduced the word list cards to my daughter, Annie, she seemed a little overwhelmed and bored with the cards. We revisited the lesson, but this time, we first read the rhyming book The Cat in the Hat.

After reading the book, we read the word list card in the /at/ family, and Annie seemed much more excited about decoding the words! This time, it didn’t seem like a lesson or a chore; it seemed more like a fun game! 

I also asked Annie if she preferred the word list cards or the word booklets, and she told me she liked the word list cards better.

I think it would be fun to revisit the lesson with a different rhyming book and see if we could give the booklets another try!

Have you incorporated a rhyming book while practicing reading words with your child? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below!


word lists, Montessori, reading

More Montessori Resources

* If you would like to download the long word list cards and booklets that I made, as well as the lesson plan PDF, sign up for the resources library below. If you’re already a subscriber, be sure to get the most recent password from my latest email. 

word lists, Montessori, reading
word lists, Montessori, reading

49 thoughts on “Montessori Word Lists And Fun Rhyming For Beginning Readers”

  1. I agree with you! A rhyming book can definitely help with reading. This is why the book Cat in the Hat is considered a must-have in all home libraries.

    Thank you for sharing these. These printables are very helpful.

  2. That’s really a good way to help the kids learn to read. it’s a great resource to teach the kids.

  3. I just saw a study that was showing Montessori students score higher than public school students in reading and ELA. The amount higher was not a small number.

    1. Hi Rosey,

      I know, isn’t that awesome? Maria Montessori was an amazing woman ahead of her time in the early 1900’s. We are just now doing evidence based studies that show the effectiveness of her methods of teaching reading.

  4. I’m glad to hear that you found a way to make the Montessori word list card lesson more engaging for your daughter. It’s wonderful that using a rhyming book helped her feel more excited about decoding words and made the lesson feel like a fun game. It’s always great to hear about different strategies that parents use to help their children learn and enjoy reading.

    1. Hi Sonia,

      Yes, it really is amazing how we can always add a fun element like a rhyming book to keep our children interested in a lesson that may feel not as engaging, like the word lists. I have found that we can always figure it out with trial and error.

  5. An amazing post for learning about how to best introduce reading to our kids. Got to look into rhyming books, and thanks for suggesting cat in the hat!

  6. I remember growing up we read the fun with Dick and Jane books. I’m probably dating myself. Lol I am 46 though and grew up in the 80s.

    The books today are so much better and less boring. Cat in the Hat and Pete the Cat was some of my son’s favorite books when he was little.

    1. Hi Christy,

      Yes, I remember the Dick and Jane books, too! My daughter also loved Pete the Cat. It’s amazing how the Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss is such a well-loved classic and keeps our kids interested in reading!

  7. Thank you for compiling fantastic educational resources that are both enjoyable and effective to learn from.

  8. Rhyming can make reading really fun for beginners, and can still be fun even after mastering literacy! These are really great tips and resources you’ve put together here.

  9. as always, appreciate the amazing resources you put together that make learning easy and effective and fun as well

  10. My son is in kindergarten, and we have many Dr. Seuss books. He honestly has some problems with reading, and I would like to help him. We`ll try Montesorri word lists.

    1. Hi Laura,

      Yes, it is so true! We have to do some trial and error to keep our kids engaged in reading lessons.

  11. Rhyming books are a great way to introduce kids to reading, and this activity you set up looks great. I home educate my youngest and now he’s older he’s lost interest in reading a little bit. Maybe I need to go back to basics with him!

    1. Hi Lou,

      That’s great! I have a lot of reading resources on the blog. Let me know if it helps and if you have any questions!

  12. What a great list and its a fun way to get the little ones engaged and interested in reading…I remember how much I loved rhyming words!

  13. These are great lists! Thanks for putting these together. It is helpful to have some guidance on word lists for kids to work on.

  14. Melissa Cushing

    This is such a great resource packed with info for parents and I apprevciate you sharing! I loved the Dr Seuss books when I was a kid…. they are awesome!

  15. Rhian Scammell

    Anything you can do to help kids connect language is a win in my books. The cat in the hat seems like a great way to connect some of those rhyming words x

  16. Exploring Montessori word lists with rhyming books adds joy and engagement to reading activities. Encouraging literacy through playful learning is a win-win!

  17. This post helps parents to make it easier for their children to learn. Choosing words that are orderly and complete will make it very easy for children.

  18. Absolutely stunned by this incredibly comprehensive article! It’s a great collection of resources for teaching children language skills. Grateful for such invaluable content!

  19. This is very informative and I love seeing how fun it can be to teach children these longer words in the methods that you use. It looks like a brilliant strategy.

  20. Love this, what a great idea to help children learn to read. Rhyming is so much fun and it really does help kids learn words. I used to do a method like rhyming to help teach my kids learn new words.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Yes! Rhyming words are like “magic” because of their musical cadence. It really helps with the word lists!

  21. oh wow, what an amazing and thorough article, I looooove it…A great resource to teach my kids how to properly learn a language. Amazing and thank you.

  22. I love this! What a great idea, and I agree that keeping it fun really does help them absorb the lesson more.

    1. Hi Luna,

      Yes, I have found that a lesson like word lists can be overwhelming, so adding a rhyming book to keep in interesting really works!

  23. Immersing young learners in the world of reading with Montessori Word Lists and Fun Rhyming activities is sure to make them excellent readers! Thanks for sharing this!

  24. I loved to use rhyming when I was teaching my kids to read. It’s such a great way to help children learn as it adds fun to the learning process and a great way to encourage them to learn and keep their attention focused on what they are doing.

  25. What a great resource for teaching little children new words and vocabulary! Rhyming is also fun in the sense that when you hear the word, it can help you remember them.


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