Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Montessori Language: Dwyer, AMI, PBG

An attempt at laying out the Dwyer, AMI and PBG Montessori learning-to-read/write-experiences alongside one another. 

Dwyer on the left; AMI Primary Language album in the middle; Pink/Blue/Green on the right.

Remember: Dwyer is a summary of the AMI approach (developed by Maria Montessori with minimally needed modifications for English); Pink/Blue/Green was developed from the ground-up for the sake of the English language (some statements are being made that Dr. Montessori commissioned it, or gave her blessing on it; on the flip side we have AMI not using it - history is unclear on this matter). 

ROUGH DRAFT form. Please share further insights!

AMI-style KotW
(not included)
varies with album set and training
Education as an Aid to Life
Development of Language (from Theory)
Introduction to Language
Introduction to Spoken Language
Aural Development (ages 0-4+)
Spoken: Vocabulary Enrichment

Orientation Game
EPL Preparation
Sensorial Preparation
Special Units Card Sets
Naming Objects in the Environment
Collecting Classified Objects
Practical Life Objects
Parts of an Object
Language of the Sensorial Materials
Three Period Lesson
Classified Cards - Social
Related Objects Game - Presentations A & B
Description/Definition Game
Stories – Biological Classifications
    The Story of Living and Non-Living Matter
    The Story of Plants and Animals
    The Story of the Five Classes of Vertebrates
Sorting Game – Biology Classifications
Nomenclature Cards – Scientific
Life Cycles
Oral Language Games

Aural Development (ages 0-4+)
Spoken: Language Development
Oral Expression
Reading and Books in the Library

Question Game

Cultural Folders

     Extension: fictional story telling

Land and Water Form Folders

Land and Water Form Outline Maps

Biome Folders

Art Folders

My State

Initial Sounds with Individual Sandpaper Letters – 3 ½+
Introduction to Writing
Followed by
Object Boxes
Classification Boxes
Movable Alphabet when “most of the initial sounds are known” – start writing 2-3 letter words at age 4. To control work:
Use objects
Use pictures
Aural Development (ages 0-4+)
Sound Games (ages 0-4)
Sensitizing Fingers
Symbols for the Sounds (3 1/2 or so + )
Sandpaper Letters (3 1/2+)
Done WITH the above individual letters
Sandpaper Phonograms (Additional Sandpaper Letters)
Simultaneous w/ individual letters
Typically around 4, earlier or later
Movable Alphabet (3 ½ - 4 to start writing full words with all 40-44 key sounds as well as “the”)
Stages include alphabetizing, capitals, punctuation
Separate development (not in Dwyer)
Metal Insets (12 Stages) (3-5+)
Some metal inset at 2 ½ (are fingers prepped for holding pencil?)
Small Metal Insets

Map Making

Writing - Art of Handwriting 3.5-5

Lightly touched on (hinted at) in Dwyer booklet
Sand Tray
sand tray

Paper Material (10 stages)
Paper stages (some notes say the child should be able to read certain words already, corresponding with the pink/blue/green stages)
Initial Strokes

Green Boards (Initial strokes)

Handwriting Charts – 6

Book Making
making booklets

Reading: Phonetic Reading (4 ½)
(relatively quick stage)
Pink Series – age 4+
CVC word cards with:
Picture Cards
Picture boxes
Word lists
Single Word books
A, the
Sentence cards
Sentence Picture boxes
Pink books
Blue Reading (words with two consonants next to each other with no change in sound – still phonetic):
Movable Alphabet Words
Movable Alphabet Pictures
Picture Card with Words
Picture Boxes
Word lists
Single Word Books
Sentence Cards
Sentence Pictures Boxes
Blue Books
Introduction to Reading
Dwyer: Object Box 1
Phonetic Object Box
Dwyer: “Beginning of Reading”
Phonetic Reading Cards
Dwyer: “Activity Word Game” (part 1)
Phonetic Reading Commands
Dwyer: “Beginning of Reading”
Phonetic Booklets
Rhyming Words

Reading: Phonograms (4 ½)
can overlap phonetic above
Green Series:
Dwyer marks this as Object Box 2
Phonogram Object Box and Alphabet Boxes
Introduce digraph sandpaper letters
Phonogram Word Cards
Movable Alphabet Words with pictures (reg. MA)
(only hinted at)
Phonogram Shadow Box
Dwyer has “folders” for a version of these
Phonogram Booklets
Phonogram Cards
Now use Phonogram Movable Alphabet:
Word Picture Cards
Word Picture Boxes
Words and Objects
Word lists
Consonant digraphs
X, Q
Plethora of stages
Command Words
(not covered in Dwyer???)
Phonogram Alphabet Exploration
Dwyer: “Activity Word Game” (part 2)
Phonogram Commands
Dwyer: kind of the Phonogram dictionary, but a bit different – would be great to do both versions
Research (5+)



Personal Dictionary

Reading: Puzzle Words

Puzzle Words in Dwyer, under “The Test” (introduced with the movable alphabet according to AMI)
Puzzle Words (begins with Movable Alphabet; continues through to mastery – around 5)

Reading Classification

Mentioned in Phonogram Dictionary and Dictation as parallel work.  
Presentation I – Classifying the Environment
Green Reading Series:
Environment Labels

Presentation II – Cards with Labels

     A. Social

     B. Scientific

     C1. Biology Classifications: Living and Non-Living

     C2: Biology Classifications: Plant and Animal

     C3: Biology Classifications: Five Classes of Vertebrates

     Extension: Mix and sort - work up to 5 sets

Presentation III – Definition Stages

Reading: Function of Words

Mentioned in Phonogram Dictionary and Dictation as parallel work.  
Introduction to Function of Words and Background
Article and Noun
Logical Adjective
Detective Adjective
Logical Adverb

Continuation of Commands

Symbol and Phrase Game

Word Study

Further exploration of reading skills and language exploration – much of this can and should be done orally to begin with (with some details left out to be discovered when the child can read for himself), so that the reading portion becomes a deeper work for the children as well as a way to enhance whole reading skills with something familiar.

Mentioned in Phonogram Dictionary and Dictation as parallel work.  
Introduction to Word Study

Compound Words



Word Families


Singular and Plural
(in grammar)


(included in green series?)

Animal Collectives

Animals and Their Young

Animal Sounds

Animal Homes

Animal Families


Reading Analysis

Dwyer: Listed under “Dictation”
Introduction to Reading Analysis

Simple Sentences Stage I

Simple Sentences Stage II

Simple Sentences Stage III

Musical Expression

Not touched on in Dwyer’s booklet.
Introduction to Musical Expression

Notation with the Bells: whole step, half step, tetrachord

Note Names with the Bells (Name Lessons with the Bells)

Introduction to the Musical Staff: Staff, Ledger Lines, G-Clef

Note Names on the Numbered Staff Board

Note Names on the Unmarked Staff Board

Unmarked Staff Boards – Parallel Exercise 1: Matching Cards with Bells

Unmarked Staff Boards – Parallel Exercise 2: Nomenclature Cards

Unmarked Staff Boards – Parallel Exercise 3: Grading

Unmarked Staff Boards – Parallel Exercise 4: Descriptions/Definitions

Composing on the Bells

Reading Music

Language Extension

Much of this work falls under real life experiences, aural and oral language development.

We want the children to have real experiences so they have something to write about with the movable alphabet.
Who Am I?

How to Teach a Song

Clapping – Rhythm

Introduction to Biology

Introducing Animals

Plant Study and Experiments

Telling Time

Additionals particular to Keys of the Universe albums - not included in straight AMI albums or in Dwyer's booklet.  

Language Scope and Sequence

Language Materials List

Master Copies


  1. I had no clue on Dwyer's but the chart gives the impression that whoever is doing the pink/blue/green series is not following AMI. As far as I know Dr. Montessori commissioned someone to develop the series for the English language. I suppose it didn't mean to eliminate or change anything but to add to the manual.

    1. The PBG method is not AMI. AMI does not promote and the few AMI people I have asked about PBG said essentially "no".

      I am still waiting to hear back from someone I was directed to via a member on a Facebook group - he is supposed to have more of the details regarding this commissioning or permission by Montessori to develop something for the English language. In my own studies, the closest I can come is a reference in "The Discovery of the Child" about the complexity of the English language and a set of drawers with objects that had been developed. There is SO little detail that frankly, she could VERY WELL be referring to PBG.... OR she could be referring to the AMI/Dwyer-summarized phonetic/phonogram objects boxes.

      Further research is needed on the source of PBG.

  2. Thank you Jessica. I read your other post Never knew how frustrating the PBG series was. Thank goodness I didn't touch that. Phew!

  3. Hi, Jessica, Vicki Sampeck here. I've just gotten a chance to catch up on this and some other interesting threads.

    To give an accurate historical perspective on the 3 letter phonetic objects and pictures (Pink), longer phonetic objects, pictures and words, blends, short sentences(Blue) and the approach to phonograms (Green), I can think I can clear some misconceptions up, if interested.

    Margaret Homfray developed the reading scheme for the English language together with Dr. Montessori.The English Language Reading Scheme described above was was actually registered in both Montessori's name and Miss Homfray's name in Europe.

    Miss Homfray also told Dr. Blodget (President of Montessori World Educational Institute) of taking Dr. Montessori to the British Museum in London; Dr. Montessori saw a Victorian Game on display there. Dr. Montessori said "the children would love that!" and Dr. Montessori together with Miss Homfray decided to use it as a basis for the grammar activities.

    Phoebe Childe, also in London at the time with Montessori, had a particular specialty in Biology. She was also a good artist and made a number of beautiful little subject books for the elementary aged children.

    Someone else developed the reading scheme that AMI and AMS uses. The one that AMS is using is quite similar to what Miss Homfray and Dr. Montessori developed together.

  4. Hi Jessica thank you I'm praying that our little guys school will understand why he excels at everything except the Wilson marking up words He never got into those colors thank you again I will attempt to find these texts Dwyer,pbg and ami thank you again