a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson

A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson

a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson
a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson …

First, I explain why I’m focusing subject by subject. Also, I include Charlotte Mason quotes because I find her original lectures on education to be awe inspiring and helpful.

Next, please keep reading to see the break down of implementing lessons, the schedule, and resources I’m using that fit our family. Finally, I share the wealth of quality Charlotte Mason resources I have found helpful, from those mothers who have gone before me.


“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.” (Mason, vol. 3)

There are MANY subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education because she believed in spreading a wide feast. Sometimes, it feels a bit daunting for a new homeschooling mama.

Therefore, I’m attempting to learn, digest, and absorb how I’m going to be teaching each subject. I have decided to compose a blog post on each subject for Form 1B (roughly first grade). This will help me prepare to teach my oldest son in the Fall.

“The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.” (Mason, vol. 1)

a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson
a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson

A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson


My son is five, almost six. According to Charlotte Mason’s methods of learning to read, he will be in the pre-reading category when we begin formal lessons. So, if your child is not yet reading proficiently, this post may be helpful to you! As my son progresses, I plan to compose an additional post with some ideas for A Charlotte Mason Reading Lesson (Reading by Sight and Sound).

“But the learning of the alphabet should be made a means of cultivating the child’s observation: he should be made to see what he looks at.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Charlotte Mason recommended that a child be able to visualize the words, learning from sight, in addition to learning phonics.

“Accustom him from the first to shut his eyes and spell the word he has made.” (Mason, vol. 1)


  • Home Education by Charlotte Mason – there are about 30 pages devoted to the reading lesson. Its gentle, effective and delightful.
  • Discover Reading by Amy Tuttle – this book was also recommended by Ambleside online as a reading resource. Here is a description from her website: Discover Reading will help you and your child develop vital skills such as phonemic awareness, mental imaging, auditory blending and word building. It will serve as a guide for you as you lead your child through the stages of pre-reading, beginning reading, and fluency.
  • Also, here is another FREE resource using Ms. Mason’s methods for reading, written by Jennifer Spead.
  • A good alphabet book or four (I LOVE these: B is for Bear, A to Z Picture Book, In A Pumpkin Shell, An ABC Book).
  • Wooden Moveable Alphabet
  • Or, these wooden letters



“When should he begin? Whenever his box of letters begins to interest him.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Charlotte Mason describes the Pre-Reading Lesson as occurring five times a week. Also, each lesson lasts about ten minutes.

You can begin pre-reading activities when a child begins to be aware of letters. A typical age of a child may be anywhere from two to six years old when you begin pre-reading.


Reading is important. It is also required to teach reading in the state of Texas. I vividly remember books playing a vital role in my education. They shaped me to be the person I am today. Living Books Library defines characteristics of a Living Book as: full of ideas, virtuous, inspiring, narrative, generational and imaginative.

“It is better that children should receive a few vital ideas that their souls may grow…” (Mason, vol. 1)

Some of my happiest times with my children are sharing good books with them. Therefore, I look forward to the day when my children discover the joy of reading for themselves.

Pre-Reading Lesson
Pre-Reading Lesson


“A tray of sand is useful at this stage.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Charlotte Mason says a child can first learn the sounds of letters and then recognize the upper case and lower case letters. Additionally, the child should practice “air writing” the letters or drawing them in a tray of sand.

“There is no occasion to hurry the child: let him learn one form at a time, and know it so well that he can pick out the d’s, say, big and little, in a page of large print.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Here are some suggested activities to introduce the concept of reading to children.


  • First, playfully teach your child the sounds for each letter of the alphabet.
  • He should be familiar with upper case letters first, and then lower case letters.
  • Teach all consonant sounds and at least the short vowel sounds.
  • While your child is learning sounds, he should take a mental picture of the letter.
  • Then, your child can trace the letter in the air.
  • Finally, take any word and stretch out the sound of the first letter. Amy Tuttle from Discover Reading, writes to think of Dori’s whale language in Finding Nemo. One example here could be: “Can you find the /S/ for Sssssnake?” using your box of letters.
  • An alternate pre-reading learning game is to have him search for the letter sound /d/ on a magazine page. You could ask your child to point out the letters, or sometimes circle them.



  1. Introduce the letters and sounds one per day or several per day if your child can master them. Review all letters until the child knows each letter/sound combination.
  2. When a child can recognize the letter by sight and sound, and can draw the letter in the air, the letter is learned, and he can put it in a letter box.
  3. This could happen in one week’s time, or last over several weeks, depending on your child. I love how Amy Tuttle reminds us to enjoy the process, because he only learns to read once.


  • Once a child is confident with all letter sounds, begin with short words that are as interesting as possible. Use simple consonants and short vowel sounds to introduce blending. Pick letters that will make words he knows.
  • He should place a letter before “at” for example, to make b-at, c-at, h-at. Repeat the sounds slowly, and let him discover the word.
  • Ask him to see the letters in his mind, with his eyes closed. Then, trace the letters in the air.
  • When he can do all of these steps, Mama writes the word on a chalkboard (or the child can if he is writing already).
  • Next, ask him to dictate the words that you learned for the lesson, and write them down in a notebook.
  • Finally, the next day, review the words from his notebook, and begin with new word blends.
  • Repeat with all short sound vowels before moving onto long vowel sound word blends. Example: “ate” to make h-ate, l-ate, m-ate, and r-ate.

Ms. Mason says,

“This is not reading, but it is preapring the ground for reading; words will no longer (be) unfamiliar, perplexing objects, when the child meets them in a line of print.” (Mason, vol. 1)


“Require him to pronounce he words the makes with such finish and distinctness that he can himself hear and count the sounds in a give word.” (Mason, vol. 1)

One final quote:

“Accustom him from the first to shut his eyes and spell the word he has made.” (Mason, vol. 1)


Finally, I have come across some outstanding resources in learning about a Charlotte Mason education. I’m so happy to share them with you! Some of these are sources I return to daily because I’m preparing to teach my children. Additionally, I list specific resources for a Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson.





Also, check out these previous blog posts in the series:

Thank you so much for checking in! Finally, please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.

Homeschool Preschool Supplies List

All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason. The Living Press published my favorite version of her books. Finally, I TRULY recommend any parent read Charlotte Mason’s books! They are truly treasured words I believe I will be reading and re-reading for many years to come.


Hi, I'm Randi! I'm the blessed Mama of two amazing little boys, Hudson (age 4.5) and Jude (age 3). I'm honored to be able to homeschool my preschoolers and we are trying to be intentional with our children each day. I'm all about slowing down, leading as natural a life as we can, spending time outdoors, and enjoying the simple, ordinary moments of life. I have always had health and wellness as an intense passion. Now I get to share it with my children!

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